The Ultimate Gift Guide {Our Thanks-Giving Tree}

We’ve been watching the poor widow of Luke 24.  How she gave out of her poverty.  How Jesus told us that while she only offered two measly mites, she {and not the others who gave out of their abundance} gave the ultimate gift. But what are you and I supposed to do with the poor widow’s story this Christmas?

Give everything away in the name of Christ?

Sell every item of value and scrape together the proceeds for the nearest collection box?

Maybe. But it could also be as simple as decorating a tree.


As soon as the leaves swap uniform greenery for vibrant red, orange, and yellow cloaks, our family resurrects the Thanks-Giving Tree.

“Thank you God for my pink blanket.”

“Thank you God for my family.”

“Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross.”

Thanks-Giving2This year the poor widow of Luke 24 inspired change. Instead of purely giving out of our abundance {abundant thanks for abundant blessings} we also gave out of our poverty.

“Please help me forgive my mean sister.”

“Please help me honor my estranged parents.”

“Please help me love the naughty neighbor boy as You love me.”


As a parent I can lead lead little ones to the foot of the tree.  When I come with nothing but a need or want of Jesus; when I come empty-handed {drained of myself, my self-interest, my self-sufficiency}, I also come in poverty.

To the outside world it may look as if I offer Jesus practically nothing of value {a shortage of forgiveness, a deficiency of grace, a drought of compassion}. And yet, like the poor widow, I offer the ultimate gift to my children: a life lived at the foot of the cross. An unmistakable, unfaltering example of how to need God.

So we decorated a tree with red, orange, and yellow paper leaves and two other kinds of paper ornaments: “Thank You” stamped tags to witness our abundant thanks, and solitary cross stamped tags to record our need of Christ.  To testify to our poverty.


And already our Thanks-Giving Tree produced unexpected blessing.

As we  stamped paper crosses, our little neighbor friend asked with curiosity, “What’s sin?”  And right there, in my kitchen, my two girls and I shared the joy of Jesus, forgiveness, and eternal life! We shared the ultimate gift of the season: we showed her how to live a life at the foot of the cross, at the foot of that tree.

Oh how blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3, ESV).

Might I Pray for Us?

Dearest Jesus,

We need You. You are our Guide, our help in times of trouble, our Comforter, our Keeper, our Friend.  We come with such abundance.  Help us also to come in our poverty.  To need You. To want You.  To come with nothing but a desire to have more of You and let You lead us.  In Your precious and holy name, Amen.


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