James 1:16-18 (CEB)

16 Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all. 18 He chose to give us birth by his true word, and here is the result: we are like the first crop from the harvest of everything he created.


What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

There are times when someone gives us a gift so perfect that we say to ourselves, “they get me.” And whenever we see it, we remember them and give thanks.

I have a beautiful stole that my sister gave me when I was ordained. One of the things I love about it is that it’s probably not one I ever would have chosen for myself. It’s just a little bit fancier than anything I normally wear. It’s blue, black, and purple, with some gold sparkle mixed in. I love it, and even though wearing robes in worship isn’t my favorite, it feels special to get it out during Advent every year. I remember how she called me and asked, “So, how did you like the James Brown stole?” which is just such a Sherry thing to say. Putting it on gives me joy and makes me think of her.

Beloved family, treasured friends, favorite music, cherished landscapes, and works of art that fill our hearts with thanksgiving – every day we are blessed beyond measure. The joy we receive from all these things points us back to God, who gives every good and perfect gift for our enjoyment.

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

Let today be a day of gratitude and appreciation. Take a walk and stop to watch wildlife, or study a tree. Give God thanks for the magnificence of Creation.

Do you consider yourself to be a thoughtful gift-giver? How could you be more intentional about giving gifts that show that you “get” the recipient?