When A Gift Isn’t Really A Gift

FullSizeRender-5Did you ever have that one relative who, instead of picking out a Christmas gift for you, gave you money to go buy your own?

I’m not talking about someone who sends you a card with some cash in it (although this post essentially applies to that as well). I mean more like the person who lets you buy your own gift, wraps it up, and gives it to you on Christmas day.

If you’re the person in the family that did this, don’t worry – this is not a critique of your gift-giving methods. The fact that you’re able and willing to give anything at all is a generous act of love.

In fact, a lot of people would prefer that Christmas worked like this altogether. Continue reading

There Is Such A Thing As Free

photo.PNG-2Who gives away the most anticipated new album of the year to the entire world for free?

Certainly not the biggest rock band in the world, right?

That would subvert the entire process we’ve become accustomed to as consumers.

That would flip the recording industry on its head.

That would be unheard of…if it didn’t just happen.

You’ve probably seen by now that after 5 years of waiting U2 finally released their latest album “Songs Of Innocence” completely free to anyone with an iTunes account.

And they didn’t just release it – it’s already sitting in everyone’s purchased music folder, waiting to be downloaded. The album is a gift to every iTunes customer, just waiting to be received.

Who could have seen something like this coming?

Actually, it sounds kind of familiar.

Sounds kind of like a God giving away His gift of salvation completely for free. Continue reading

Why I Give My Dog Christmas Presents

photo-8Every year I buy my dog a Christmas present. 

You might think I’m foolish.

You are more than welcome to your opinion and you may in fact be right.

I mean, I recently quit my full time job. I’m only working a part time seasonal job right now. I’ve got a house to pay for, Christmas presents to buy for family and friends, and all my other bills to worry about.

It’s probably not wise for me to ration out any of my money for a Christmas present for a dog.

After all, he has no idea there’s a new toy and a bag of treats wrapped up with his name on it waiting underneath the Christmas tree.

Christmas will be just another day for him. I’ll open the gift for him, he’ll enjoy it momentarily, then go back to thinking about whatever it is dogs think about.

So why bother? Continue reading

How To Avoid The Worst Christmas Ever

Let me tell you about the worst Christmas present I ever opened.

My parents would sometimes allow me the scandalous privilege of opening up one present on Christmas eve. One year when I was 9 or 10 my eyes were drawn to a curious cylindrical package. With approval from my parents, I was able to open this gift early.

Filled with the giddy excitement of getting a head start on Christmas, I made confetti out of the wrapping paper.

Then, my heart sank. Continue reading

The Two Ways To Respond To Interruptions

“Not today.”

Wednesday night I was ready to go. I was in the zone for my usual Wednesday activities as Youth Pastor at The Hill. My lesson was memorized. Everything was in place for our game. The slides were set for the keynote. I was all prepared for kids to start showing up around 3:30.

And then the kids showed up with this:

photo (21)

A stray dog. “Oh no,” I thought, “Not today.” Continue reading