When I was still in my first decade of life, I always went to my maternal grandparent’s house for Christmas. I still remember the smell of grandma frying bacon in the morning, then cracking some eggs to float in the bacon grease. The kitchen table was shaped like a restaurant booth, and there she would visit with us and dispense her wisdom. Her home was a place of joy for me, and her hugs were nearly as big as she was.
As it happened one fine Christmas morning, my cousin received a rather cool racing set. It had a track in the shape of a figure 8, and two cars with metal wires on the bottom that conducted the electricity to the wheels. My parents could never have afforded such a gift and I was enamored of the racing set—and a little jealous. Believe me when I say it was the X-Box of 1965.
Well, we had a blast—for about an hour. At some point one of the cars quit working. We did all the problem solving we knew how but, alas, the car was broken. To my knowledge it never worked again. Whenever I visited my cousin’s house it was nowhere to be seen, relegated to a shelf in the basement.
Over the years I have forgotten every gift I ever received at grandma and grandpa’s house. But I have never forgotten how the one that seemed the best, ended up giving so little satisfaction. Glitz and speed and coolness were very short-lived. I had learned a valuable lesson in life. Things come and go, sometimes rather quickly. But visits with Grandma over bacon and eggs gave me a sense of being truly home, and truly loved. I have never forgotten that.
Stewardship is living in the wisdom that relationships triumph things. Things are fine, but they don’t last, and neither do their satisfactions. Of course, the world’s answer to faulty old things is to get more new things. Sometimes we fall for that ruse. Christmas, however, puts our focus squarely on the relationship again. God is come to our home, and in so doing takes us home. Christ is a living relationship that reminds us how much we are loved. When this revelation hits us, it shapes all our relationships from now until eternity.
As we head toward Christmas let us focus again on the relationships that matter, and steward our things, and our relationships, in the light of the light that lights all humankind.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana