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Loosen Your Grip – The Envelope Tradition

Overcoming SelfishnessKey Bible Verse: “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”  – Acts 20:35

Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:11-15

Our son Kevin, 12, had a non-league wrestling match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, in ragged sneakers and no headgear to protect their ears, contrasted with our boys in their spiffy uniforms and shoes. We took every weight class.

My husband Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly. “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “This could take the heart right out of them.”

That’s when I got the idea.  Knowing Mike hated the commercial aspects of Christmas, I went to a sporting-goods store, bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I tucked an envelope in the branches of our tree with a note inside telling Mike what I’d done as my gift to him. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year.

For succeeding Christmases, I followed the new tradition—sending a group of mentally disabled youngsters to a hockey game, and so on.  The unmarked envelope became our Christmas highlight.

Our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree—always the last gift opened—to reveal its contents.

—Anonymous in Ken Canfield’s They Call Me Dad

My Response: What giving element could I work into our Christmas traditions?

Thought to Apply: Nothing is really ours until we share it.—C.S. Lewis (British scholar & writer)

Adapted from They Call Me Dad (Howard, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Help me, Lord, to break the small child’s compulsion to say, ‘Mine! Mine!’ and loosen my grasp on things.



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