5th Day of Christmas: A Gift that Doesn’t Need Returning

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Colossians 3:12-1

Christmas day has come and gone. The gifts have been opened. The cookies have been eaten. The carols have been sung. Radio stations have stopped playing Christmas music. Christmas movies on the TV are dwindling. Now comes the returns. Oh the returns! There are several times of year I don’t go shopping: Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and the day after Christmas. Really the next several days after Christmas.

There is something depressing about the fact that as soon as the stores open the day after Christmas, the lines to return those gifts were as long as they were to buy them. It’s a vicious cycle. And one I would rather not participate in. The long lines to return movies we already own, clothes that are the wrong size or not our style, and that strange gadget from our crazy uncle. We spend as much time buying gifts as we do returning them. All in the name of Christmas and exchanging presents with those close to us.

What if we chose to celebrate Christmas differently? To not get sucked into the cultural expectations of gift giving and gift returning and gift exchanging. I’m not talking about having a Buy Nothing Christmas or giving homemade gifts (which are both fantastic ideas, by the way). I’m talking about something that lasts even longer. Instead of focusing on shopping for sweaters that will be returned or shoes that will be out of style in a year, there is something more we can focus on during Christmas.

In Colossians, Paul encourages us to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” That is something that we can wear all year around. It doesn’t go out of style. It’s never the wrong size or the wrong color.

What would it look like if the gift we gave to each other and to world was compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience?

A reflection by Angie Rines.

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Angie is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Presbyterian Church in Morristown. Angie tweets from @AngelaRines and blogs at http://angierines.wordpress.com