The greatest gift

Published 12:57 pm Monday, December 28, 2015

By the time you read this, the presents will have been opened and the goose both cooked and eaten. The first toy will have been broken and the 13th argument over another one will have been had. While the wrapping paper, tape and ribbon will have long been bagged up and stuffed into overflowing trashcans, the children’s gifts will still be on full display in the living room. The reality of having overspent the holiday budget two-fold will slowly be settling in. The overindulgence of the season will be showing itself by the significant pressure being applied to the waistbands of our pants.

Christmas, as we now know it, will be over. The trees will soon be coming down and the lights unplugged, boxed up and put away for another year. Vehicles will be packed to overflowing for the return trip home. And soon, very soon, there will be little evidence that Christmas even took place.

And the older I become, the more and more aware I become that this is likely not what God had intended Christmas to be.

The birth of Christ was not meant to be cause for a one-day extravaganza, filled to the brim with expensive gifts and fancy food and material self-indulgence. No, Christmas, the celebration of God’s greatest gift to us, was meant to be celebrated each and every day of the year. The gift of the Christ child is one that we can put no actual value on. The gift comes with no price tag or return policy but is measured in peace, forgiveness, joy and hope. Such a gift is far greater than our ability to comprehend. Such a gift deserves to be celebrated year round, not merely on the 25th day of December.

So, as the last vestiges of our self-styled holiday season dissolve into memories and the meaning of what we have decided Christmas is begins to fade, my hope is that the first and only lasting gift of Christmas — the birth of Christ Jesus — brings you the peace and forgiveness and joy and hope that God intended. Not just on this day, but every day of the year.

TONY CLARK is publisher of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at