"Christmas Gifts"
(By Joseph J. Mazzella - joecool@wirefire.com)

12-11-2008 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #520
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

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Story of the Week
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Christmas Gifts
(By Joseph J. Mazzella - joecool@wirefire.com)

Some of my earliest memories from childhood are of sneaking under the Christmas tree to see what gifts had my name on them. I remember lifting, shaking and even peeling back some wrapping paper in order to see what toys my parents had gotten me. One Christmas, before I could read, I even opened every single gift under the tree. The December after I turned five, however, I was in for a shock. I looked under the tree and found not a single present with my name on the tag. There were gifts there for everyone else, but nothing with a "to Joe" on it.

I was heartbroken. It wasn't so much that I was getting no toys. It was the fact that they had forgotten about me. Never in my young life had I felt unloved until that moment. With tears in my eyes, I went and got some old toys of mine and some leftover wrapping paper. I had started to wrap them, so I could have something under the tree when my Mom caught me.

Taking me in her arms, she lovingly explained that I hadn't been forgotten. They had gotten me presents but had decided to hide them from my prying eyes and fingers until Christmas Day. Looking back now, I can't even remember what I got that year, but I will always remember that reassuring moment in my Mother's arms. The gift of love she gave me then remains in my heart to this day.

It is the gifts of love that are the greatest gifts of all. Jesus' entire life was a gift of love. As we celebrate His birthday this year, let us all seek to give the gifts of love as well. The gentle hugs, the caring looks, the joyful smiles, and the warm words of love we give will mean more than anything we buy in a store. The time we share, laughter we spread, and kindness we shower on others will live on in their hearts forever.

Leo Buscaglia once said, "Life is God's gift to you. How you live it is your gift to God." May your gift be a loving one at Christmastime and always.

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Pastor's Quote of the Week
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The affectionate dedication of the human will to the doing of the Father's will is man's choicest gift to God; in fact, such a consecration of creature will constitutes man's only possible gift of true value to the Paradise Father. In God, man lives, moves, and has his being; there is nothing which man can give to God except this choosing to abide by the Father's will, and such decisions, effected by the intelligent will creatures of the universes, constitute the reality of that true worship which is so satisfying to the love-dominated nature of the Creator Father.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-1 Section-1)

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The Prayer
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Dear God,        
        I lovingly dedicate my will to the doing of Your Will. Now if only I can remember that I must re-dedicate it moment by moment every day of my life, then all will be well.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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