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The Gift That Lasts Year Round

Year after year, God gives the gift of Christmas, beckoning me to find my way home.

By Karen Barber, Alpharetta, Georgia

As appeared in

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

It was two days after Christmas, and I was frustrated about how busy I’d allowed myself to become during the hectic holiday season. I’m glad Christmas is over, I thought as I wandered down a side street in the town we were visiting.

Something about the propped-open front door of a small church prompted me to step inside. In the dim interior, a waist-high manger scene was arranged under a roof of dry palm fronds.

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This is a bad place for a nativity display, I thought. It’s dwarfed by this huge stained-glass window of the Prodigal Son.

As I stood there, more thoughts came to mind. You’re just like the Prodigal Son. You’ve been so worried about gifts and trips and wrapping and baking that you’ve squandered your Christmas inheritance.

A pang of regret washed over me. Then the sun suddenly came from behind a cloud and blazed through the stained-glass window, making the words inscribed on the window glow brightly: “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand.”

My eyes followed the light down to the manger scene. Even though I was a prodigal child, God was still the loving Father. Year after year, He gives the gift of Christmas, beckoning me to find my way home.

Father, I’ve been distracted from spiritual things at Christmastime. Help me to come to my senses and start out for home today.