Advent devotion: Beyond the gifts

News | December 1, 2016

By Dylan Engelbrecht

It is September 22. My birthday was yesterday and it was a great day. Today I will work on my Christmas list. I must get it sorted and prioritized based on what I received yesterday. I will then distribute it soon to the many family members who buy me Christmas gifts. I am lucky to have such a large family. It’s important to me to make my wishes known so there are few surprises on Christmas day. I prefer to be in control of my gifts under the tree.dylan

That was in 2012.

Now it is 2016.

I’ve thought about Christmas, but not like I did in 2012. I’ve talked to my family about our plans this year — how will we decorate the tree? What food will we serve? What Christmas cookies will we bake? My sorted and prioritized Christmas list is nowhere to be found. I may think of some gift ideas this year, but it’s not my priority.

I’ve learned it’s not the gifts that matter this holiday season or the lists or being in control of everything. I’ve have learned that Christmas is about the memories you make with loved ones. After all, it’s the memories that stay with you forever, not the gifts. I have learned that one of the ways God can connect to us during the holiday season is by having us cherish the memories we make with loved ones, friends, or even our congregation. God expresses love to us by giving us the great gift of remembering the Christmas activities, whether it be making a Christmas dinner, watching a Christmas movie, or even going to a Christmas Eve church services. I am this year am focused more on making the memories that will last a life time, not the gifts that will only last a year.

Dylan is an 8th grade student. He lives in Davenport and has great taste in Netflix. Sign up to receive Advent devotions online.

7 Comments on “Advent devotion: Beyond the gifts”

  • Chris Baguss

    December 2, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Wise words (and great writing!)

  • CJ Albertson

    December 2, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Dylan, I was always proud of you but never more than in reading this. Merry Christmas!

  • Janelle Dickman

    December 1, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Such a great young man. Love having him in my confirmation small group.

  • Karen Bernick

    December 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Love this kid. Great thoughts to keep up all on track!

  • Tammy Williams

    December 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Thats an awesome devotion you wrote Dylan!! Im very impressed, and know your entire family is so proud of you!! What a great looking youn man you are!!!

  • Anne Budde

    December 1, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you Dylan. Just what I needed today!

  • Priscilla Hull

    December 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Wise beyond your years, Dylan…wonderful thoughts to keep me centered.

Leave a Comment