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posted: 12/4/2013 11:23 AM

Focus on God's perfect gift, instead of a perfect holiday

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By Annettee Budzban

" ... the gift of God is eternal life."

-- Romans 6:23 (NIV)

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The fun of Christmas memories! Here's one I'd like to share with you.

For weeks I had been buried in the usual family Christmas activities. I ran down my list of special gifts for each child. I carefully checked the sales fliers for the best bargains. I stole away a few hours every chance I got, nearly exhausting myself, as I drove from store to store to make each Christmas wish a reality.

Being a housewife and tending to an infant and two young boys didn't give me much time -- or privacy -- to wrap my personal gifts I'd bought for the kids.

Time had escaped from me and Christmas Eve had arrived. Once the children were finally nestled and fast asleep, I pulled the bags of toys from my special hiding place to commence wrapping. I spread out the large rolls of paper, bows, pen and name tags by each present.

After my labor of wrapping was finished, I stood back and admired the gifts clothed in festive designs. I enjoyed the array of green, red and gold wrappings entertaining the designs of angels, snowmen and silver bells. With each package positioned beneath the tree, it looked like a picture-perfect Christmas.

At the crack of dawn I was awakened by the distant sound of paper being ripped and crumpled coming from the living room. I hurried up, hoping catch a few precious moments of the kids opening their presents.

"Hi, Mommy!" my 3-year-old Tim said with a big smile.

But instead of greeting him with joy, my heart sunk with disappointment as I looked at the mountains of wrapping paper that surrounded him. He had unwrapped every single gift!

I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to see each child open their gifts. As I stood there trying to decide how to handle the situation, my 5-year-old came in starry-eyed as he gazed at the toys strewed across the floor. He thought nothing of the fact that his gifts had been unwrapped.

In a split moment, I remembered the true delight of the holiday was not my perfectly wrapped packages, but the wondrous gift of forgiveness granted by God to us through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

I jumped in and joined my family in the celebration as I thanked God for unwrapping the perfect gift.

• Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker, life coach and nurse. She is available to speak at groups and events. She can be contacted by email at Annetteebudzban@aol.com

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