� Piles of presents under the tree seem to charm people, but I sometimes wonder if we don't pay too much attention to presents and too little to gifts.
I suppose it is correct to call them "Christmas presents." A present is just a thing presented.�According to tradition, if you have not been nice, Santa will present to you a lump of coal for Christmas.�
On the other hand, a real gift is something given without strings and without being earned.�Gifts say more about the giver than the recipient.� The most valuable gifts cannot be put into boxes. Sometimes they are even difficult to identify.�
For example, our heritage is a gift we did nothing to earn.�It is a gift given from many people who worked, suffered, and endured in the face of adversity, all because they had a gift to bestow upon the following generations.�They wanted us to have a better world, a better nation, a better state, a better home, a better life.�It is the giver's motive that identifies a gift.�
True gifts can be as simple as a friendly greeting, a warm smile, or a helping hand reaching out to one in need.� They cost only a little effort and time, but they will be remembered forever.�I find it difficult to remember the presents I received last Christmas, but I remember well the true gifts given to me over the years by friends, family and even momentary strangers.
What are we giving our children this Christmas?� Maybe we need to focus a little more on the gifts that really count.�
It is easy to be proud and encourage our children when they win a ball game.�It is just as important to do that when they fail at something.
It is easy to give "helpful" criticism and point out their mistakes.�It takes a little more effort to ignore the little stuff, but help them correct those mistakes which can have severe consequences to them or others.
It is easy to give them electronic distractions to keep them occupied in the evening after supper.�It takes a little more effort to tell them stories about their ancestors and the history of those who developed the communities of the prairie.
It is easy to rely upon the schools to teach them morals and values.�It takes a little more effort to pass on to them the wisdom we received as small little gifts made one at a time from our elders.
It seems like the entire world is anxious to teach them a concept of love. It is more difficult to teach the real meaning of brotherly love, which allows a person to love all kinds of people in all kinds of places, even though some are doing things of which we might disapprove.
The world has plenty of bullies ready to teach them fear, but only we can give them the gift of confidence and faith that allows a person to face any challenge head on.�
The greatest gift of all, the original Christmas gift, is the most difficult to teach.�It is the gift of forgiveness, and only by example is it given to others.�Merry Christmas!