The smell of baked goods.
I can remember as a child that smell every Christmas. It was the thing that marked the season beginning at Thanksgiving and going through the new year. There were all kinds of cookies, rum cakes, Swiss Colony chocolates and appetizers, and my absolute, still all-time favorite: cherry pie.
Even now, far removed from the moment in time, I can smell the warm flaky crust, almost but not quite burned, the cherries spilling over onto the cookie sheet beneath the pie plate. I can see a piece of it falling apart as I put it on a plate and then the frozen cool whip melting over the pie into a puddle of white.
To me the memory and the looking forward to experiencing this at Christmas is a gift, one I have enjoyed over the years many times. I think we look at gifts during the Christmas season usually as being something we give to one another. We also look to the gift of Jesus, given to the world as a light to shine through the darkness and point the way to Life. But I think we forget that God gave gifts to his people before Jesus and continues to give gifts not just at Christmas but all through our days.
Paul writes, “There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Paul then goes on to write about various spiritual gifts (especially love) and their uses among followers of Jesus. These gifts are gifts given not for a season, but gifts given for use all along the journey.
Remember the gifts of God are for us to use and live into long after December. Embrace the way of life the gifts encourage. Live in such a way that your gifts continue to give as Christ’s gifts give to us today.
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