One year ago, as fall was rounding the corner, the bare limbs of trees reached out to embrace the last vibrancy of autumn. Here in the High Country of North Carolina, we continue to learn what plants will do well and which ones won’t.

However, strolling the garden center one day, I was drawn to a beautiful coleus of wine and gold. It was over-crowded and beginning to wilt a bit.

However, the vibrant colors wouldn’t allow me to turn my back on it. I asked the sales person, “Will it survive if I bring it inside for the winter?”

She shrugged her shoulders as that is not the usual way of the coleus. I was afraid I’d spend the money only to have it die within a month.

She could see that I longed for the adventure to try. And so, she reduced the price and I came home with this amazing plant.

After a few weeks, as the weather got colder, I cleared out the extra plants crowding the coleus. I brought it inside and placed it in a corner where I could turn it to get the sunlight it needed and it continued to bloom and thrive.

This plant gave and gave and I gladly received and received!

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Giving and receiving?

John 3:16 NKJV says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The giver of life sacrificially left heaven’s glory to give himself for us. He took our place so that when we believe in him by faith, we are welcomed into God’s eternal family.

The giving has been done…once and for all.

The receiving must be done individually by each of us. Only then is the transaction complete.

I brought my coleus plant inside about mid-October when the temperatures dropped significantly. I hoped and prayed that with loving attention I would receive its beauty yet again.

And I have not been disappointed.

But I had to take that step in faith.

Each day I see new growth and the vibrant colors that capture my fancy remind me again of my Creator/Redeemer.

As Christmas approaches, remember that the Giver of life gave his own life for each one of us. As we accept this free (but costly gift), we will become the colorful joy givers he designed us to be that others might desire to receive his gift of new life. Selah

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