The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas always ignites the stress of finding just the right gifts for loved ones and friends.
The reality is that Christmas in America is more of a commercial event than a religious holiday. Decrying commercialism won't change things much, but there are some ideas to make your holiday season a more spiritual experience for your family.
Let me recommend an amazing gift you can give this year that will have long-lasting impact.
I propose that you write your conversion story.
You could print it on parchment paper and perhaps frame it as a gift, or just write it as a letter. OK, so your kids and grandkids will want something more but, in the end, your story will be the greatest gift they receive.
As Christians, we need to leave a legacy of faith to our families. This could be a wonderful way to tell your faith story to your family. Title it your "Legacy of Faith."
Here is an outline of how you might approach writing your story. It doesn't have to be complicated; just share your story from your heart. And be sure to sign it when you finish.
First, place your life in context.
For me, I can tell my family of the rich spiritual heritage I enjoy because of the faith of their great-grandparents and grandparents. I can tell of the spiritual umbrella that was cast over our home because of the living faith in Christ and unreserved commitment to the church displayed in our home.
Your story may be different. The context of your journey may be filled with brokenness and pain. Share your story with truth while not glorifying your past.
Second, relate what led to your decision to follow Christ.
I cannot remember a time I did not love Jesus. As a child, I knew the plan of salvation. Yet, one morning in Sunday School, my teacher told us the story of the cross and said, "Boys and girls, someday you will give your heart to Jesus and trust Him as your Savior."
At that moment, the Holy Spirit made the reality of my sin and Jesus' death on the cross for my sin collide. I made the decision then to ask Jesus to forgive me and become my Savior. I went forward in the service that morning, but I really decided to follow Jesus in Sunday School.
Third, share your faith journey since your decision.
What are the ways you have learned to follow Jesus? How has Christ made a difference in your life? What are some of the life situations you have faced when Christ has walked through with you? There may have been times of financial struggle, sickness or death. How has Christ blessed you and your family throughout your Christian life?
My life is transformed day by day as I follow Jesus. As I learned to feed on His Word and communicate with Him through prayer, He became my forever friend. In every circumstance, I know I have a friend who will walk with me. Space will not allow me to elaborate, but you get the picture.
Even if your family members are younger and do not understand the significance of the gift you place in their hands, there will come a day when this gift will mean more than gold.
So give a gift to your children, your children's children and generations who follow. Leave them a written "Legacy of Faith."
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.