The Gift of All Gifts

Here’s a delightful story that illustrates the importance of knowing the value of a gift…

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers. One evening, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the 95th birthday gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who moved to Florida …

The first said, “You know I had a big house built for Mama.” 

The second said, “And I had a large theater built in the house.”


The third said, “And I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.”


The fourth said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot who could recite the entire Bible. It took ten preachers almost 8 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $50,000 a year for five years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama only has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it.”

The other brothers were impressed.

After the celebration Mama sent out her “Thank You” notes.

She wrote: “Milton , the house you built is so huge that I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.”

“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home; I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks.”

“Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound and it can hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I’ve lost my hearing, and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.”

“Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious. Thank you so much.”

Love, Mama 
(From http://www.plannedparrothood.com/jokes.html)

Just like the mother in the story, many of us obviously do not see the value of the greatest gift given to us on Christmas Day. Worse, for many of us, we may know the value of the gift but we choose not to care.

No wonder the man in red tights riding on his sleigh rather than the baby in swaddling clothes sleeping on a manger is taking center stage on Christmas Day .

Today, I invite you to pray for a renewed appreciation of what I call the “Gift of All Gifts” — God becoming man for you and me.

It is sad for a mother to mistook a precious parrot for an ordinary chicken. But it will be a great tragedy if we mistook the precious gift of a Savior for a mere holidays with the family.

Christmas is what it is because of Jesus Christ. He alone makes the “holidays” truly “holy-days”.

A blessed Christmas to one and all!

Bobby Q. 

 

 

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You Always Win with God!

Whenever I play badminton, I always end up helping the opposing team win a game, of course to the dismay of my teammates. That’s how bad I am when it comes to this sport. (No wonder the opposing team cheers for me!)  

The devil has the same predicament.

When he feels he has won, God is able to use the very situation the devil has created to bring about something good from it. 

For instance, when the devil inflicts upon a person so much suffering, the person ends up turning to God for help…

Poverty ignites faith…

Wealth inspires charity…

Sickness brings about a trusting heart…

Good health brings about a grateful heart…

Despair begets hope…

Promise begets belief…

Joseph the Dreamer, Chief Administrator of Egypt, sold to slavery by his own brothers years before, had this to say to his repentant siblings:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) 

My dear friend, whatever negative situation you find yourself in right now, remember that if you hold on to God, He can turn things around to make every circumstance benefit you.

History shows and the Truth affirms that the Devil never wins. Not then. Not now. Not ever.

For every Christian, no situation should end up in hopelessness. There is always hope because in the end, God always wins.

And if you stand by Him no matter what, you win with Him!

Have a blessed Advent, my friend!

Bobby Q.

Big Enough to Love Us!

A conversation with my 5 year old daughter Mara the other day…

Mara: Papang, di ba God is bigger than the universe?
Bobby: Yes, anak. Much, much bigger.
Mara: So how did he fit on the cross?

(Got me thinking for awhile…) Then I replied with a smile while sniffing a bit as I held back a tear, “Love. Only love can make God do that, Mara.”

Mara smiled as she gazed at the skies.

Someday, she will understand the full meaning of what I just said.
 
I hope everybody will!

Finding Meaning in the Meaning of Advent

It is reported that Christmas time, next only to Valentines Day, registers the highest number of suicides and suicide attempts worldwide.

It is ironic considering that Christmas is supposed to be a time for gift-giving, merry-making, rekindling friendships, re-establishing family ties and breakthrough reconciliations. But no. Despair seems to always manage to rear its ugly head in the midst of all the revelry. Consider the following…

The poor widow gazes sadly at the happy family seated at the front row of the church as memories of what she no longer has eclipses what she still has left…

The aging single lady politely begs off from a high school reunion making the flimsy excuse of some “prior commitment” in order to avoid an event filled with married classmates that will serve to highlight only what she sadly missed out in life…

The lowly overseas worker manages to save up some cash to go online at some dimly-lit internet cafe in order to cyber chat with his family back home. But their images on the monitor screen only serve to emasculate the inescapable loneliness of his situation…

Meaning.

This is one word that escapes many people this season. It is in this season when the yearning for meaning in life escalates dramatically. People long to find meaning in their loneliness, for their suffering and in the midst their pain.

While I commiserate with the plight of so many, I am not surprised at this reality at all.

You see, modern society has found a way to take Christ out of Christmas. Shopping malls has more Santa figurines than the baby on a manger. People hum to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” more than “Emmanuel”. Parks are filled with electric lights that flicker and eventually die rather than the Light of the World who never dies. 

And this is where the tragedy really lies.

When you want joy without the source of true joy, you end up frustrated. When you want love without connecting with the purest kind of love, you end up desperate. When you want peace without accepting the kind of peace that the world could never offer, you end up more disturbed.

No wonder sometimes we can’t find meaning in our pain, in our work, and in our relationships.

Only when Christ is in Christmas will Christmas truly make sense. Without Him, our happiness will be fleeting and our suffering devoid of meaning.

That is why there is Advent prior to Christmas. Advent means “preparation”.

You don’t rush into the joy without first preparing for the source of joy. You don’t expect fulfillment without first preparing for the reason of fulfillment. You don’t expect a gift without first preparing for the arrival of the giver.

In a sense, Advent is there in order to give meaning to Christmas. If you want to avoid the traps laid out by the devil this season, don’t take a short cut. Take the longer but correct route. And believe me, despair will not even find a space in your heart. 

Find meaning in your situation this season by first finding the true meaning of Advent. 

There is simply no other way to a joy-filled Christmas but only through a meaningful Advent!

A blessed first Sunday of Advent to us all!

Waiting eagerly for my Savior,

Bobby Q.