The turkey hadn't even been digested when I realized the relaxed and pleasant Thanksgiving celebration was the calm before the storm.
By the morning of Black Friday, most family households ramped up their pace of living a notch or two with baking, buying gifts, addressing cards and scheduling Christmas events at church and elsewhere.
I never come to this busy season without remembering my speaking engagements in the Kenneth Shamblin Lecture Series at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston. During one of those visits, the senior pastor at the time, James W. Moore, was working on an Advent study for adults. It was published in 2010. This year I will be using the booklet as a study for the Sunday school class I teach.
Moore tells the story of Bishop Kenneth Shamblin's son, Ken Jr. When he was 5 years old, the only gift the little boy wanted for Christmas was a red toy truck. He pointed the truck out at the toy store, in a catalog and in his prayers. On Christmas morning, Ken Jr. was ecstatic over his red truck and paid little attention to the other gifts he received.
In the early afternoon, however, Shamblin heard his son crying. Soon, Ken Jr. was standing before his dad with the small truck in one hand and the truck's wheels in the other hand. The child was sobbing, "Daddy, my Christmas is already broken." Fortunately, the truck was soon repaired. That incident, however, caused Moore to think about the gifts that don't break.
He reminds us of Jesus' words: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven -- for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
Among the unbreakable gifts Moore suggests we should give to others are love, hope and peace. I've already made my list and can't wait to start dispensing the unbreakable gifts that keep on giving.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at nell firstname.lastname@example.org.