The prompt for this week’s Five Minute Friday is only. Random question: have you ever looked up the definition of only? This is what I got:
That certainly makes things crystal clear?? Even without an official dictionary explanation, I think we all understand what only means – but I don’t know if it is just me…but “only” seems to carry with it a negative connotation. Only one cookie. Only one winner. For some, even “only one life” or one chance to get it right. Only seems limiting or restrictive and something in our human nature just seems to balk at that. Or, at least, exhale a heavy sigh. Hopefully, this post will not of the negativity of “only” but it will be an encouragement.
GO – When my husband was a boy, he received one gift at Christmas. One gift. But he never thought of it as “just one gift” but, instead, as “the one gift!” It was the highlight of the year for him. One gift designed to not only excite and please but to also show much love to him.
(Hmmm – there is some real application to the real meaning of Christmas there, but that wasn’t exactly the point of my post.)
My husband remembers, even now, many of those gifts. Even the year surrounding each gift. In contrast, how quickly have the multiple gifts of my children’s childhood been forgotten? We have been guilty of many – as in too many – gifts. Too much wrapping, too much spending and just too much. (Grandparents….you do not help with this problem!!) 🙂
Although we have gotten much, much better, I have often wondered how it would be to simply choose one perfect gift and then give (and receive) “only” one gift on Christmas morning?? I’ve even mentioned this to my family before. Their (sincere) question in response was “why?” Why, indeed?
STOP – It is not necessarily a specific a number of gifts that I seek. A limit of five gifts, three gifts, or simply (only) one gift is not, by itself, making Christmas more meaningful, drawing me closer to the savior or making any of us the least bit holier. But there is much to be said about limiting the excess of Christmas. Excess can be all throughout Christmas: excess baking, eating or indulging of sugar…..excess shopping and spending what we cannot afford…..excess social events or parties with calendars far too committed…..even excess in trimmings, decorations, and efforts to create the perfect display of Christmas.
This type of excess is exactly what does draw our hearts away from the true joy, the real peace and the actual reason for Christmas. I seek it every year but there is no magical formula, or the perfect number of gifts, for creating a heart to really celebrate the manger and the babe born there…born to be our savior. I have to guard my heart. Guard my time. Choose carefully. Examine motives. And be willing to let go, say no and eliminate the excess. That is my pursuit this season.