Last week was one of those weeks that I will probably always remember. v
During our trip we were blessed enough to stay with friends on the way to and from Virginia, and then at a timeshare, generously donated to us by a good friend, who offered it to us so that our boys (big history nerds that they are) could experience Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg first hand. We knew going in that we would most likely be contacted by the Timeshare operators to endure a sales pitch, and sure enough, as soon as we checked in the calls began.
Finally, on very cold and wet Wednesday morning, Sweet Man and I ate a free breakfast of powdered eggs, dry biscuits and questionable sausage, and then listened the most amazing sales pitch to buy into the Timeshare. From the moment we walked into the building – admittedly lured by the promise of deeply discounted tickets to our main destinations – we were forthright and honest. We had no interest in buying into the program, but we were happy to listen to the pitch in exchange for the deeply discounted tickets.
“We camp!” I said confidently. “We like State Parks!”
It was following this last statement that the game changed.
After cleaning up our sad paper plate breakfast, and sending the kids to a holding cell playroom, we were escorted around the corner to see a salesman that I will heretofore refer to only as The Closer.
The Closer was brilliant. He was charming, but not slimy. He was genuine, and smart, and I guarantee you he was their best. I could tell this by the way his cubicle was separate from all the others, and by the “doors” fashioned out diving screens. No other cubicle came close to this level of exclusivity.
From the beginning it was obvious that The Closer enjoys a tough sells like us and my “State Park” statement was like waving a red flag in front of a prize bull. He was ready. And he pulled out all the stops. He sold us vacations like a preacher sells heaven, talking and nudging and prying until he found a way in. Till he found that little bit of hesitation in our answers. And by the end of our hour an half in his presence, he had us believing in the benefits of his product. We could see the why this was a good, solid plan. We were confident in all the advantages it would afford us, and all the opportunities it would provide for our family.
By Wednesday I was by far the most wore out.
It was at this junction that the The Closer tried to sell me on my children’s happiness.
And it was here that he made his greatest mistake.
That our children and our marriage would be better because of it. And, he was right.
Perhaps I have become a bit of a bleeding heart for Jesus, but I am no longer okay with defining comfort by what I take.
Instead I want to define comfort by what I give.
And what better time to give then at Christmas?
And what better gift to give than that of comfort and joy?
Christ birth came in the messiest, strangest place – a stable. And it was announced to the only people up in the middle of the night -those average working fellas, the shepherds. The greatest gift of comfort and joy came, in the middle of the night, birthed of blood and water, causing pain and fear and a whole lot of inconvenience. And I cannot help but wonder – If I am called to live a life fashioned after Christ, then why should my gifts cost me anything less than his?
This Christmas I want to give
Comfort to my neighbors by being a good steward of my property. By opening my doors, by sharing my bounty.
Few of these things are easy to give, fewer are convenient. Some of them are annoying, and hard, and strange and many of them will mean that I will have to keep on stretching and growing and bending in ways that are uncomfortable. And most of these gifts are a lot more time consuming than I would like, and are generally most needed when I have the least amount of time.
Unlike so many Christmas gifts, I cannot order Comfort online, have it wrapped and shipped with a few easy clicks. I cannot make monthly payments and accumulate enough points to ensure that it is in full supply when needed.
Instead, giving comfort to others more often than not, means sacrificing my own. Which I suspect, makes this the very best, and most meaningful kind of gift to give. The kind of gift that can change the world, or at the very least our hearts.
And this is what I want my children to learn. This is the experience I want to give them. This is the kind of life I want them to have.
The kind of life where tidings pf Comfort and Joy are the first gifts they give.
No matter the cost.