The real jewels

I was having a green Christmas. Not the evergreen, pine boughs or holly shade of green, but one of a more jealous hue. It was almost 20 years ago, and I was spending Christmas Eve with my husband, my young children and other family members, including a family member who happened to be better off financially than we were.

Back in those days, we exchanged all of our presents on Christmas Eve. I unwrapped a lovely plush bathrobe from my husband, which is what I’d been wanting. I touched its softness against my cheek, smiled and gave my husband a hug and kiss. I love everything about a new bathrobe—how it suggests comfort and coziness and sleepy, lazy weekend mornings—and I knew it would keep me toasty warm all winter.

But as I watched a relative open a gift of real ruby earrings and a matching ruby necklace, envy grabbed me. Suddenly my bathrobe didn’t seem like a wonderful gift. Sadly, my desire for some other thing distracted me from the true meaning of Christmas on the very evening that we were supposed to be celebrating a Savior and his gift of love. I couldn’t seem to simply enjoy the beauty of that relative’s present and her joy without feeling envious.

Envy is not good for the soul, so I prayed that night and asked God for forgiveness. The next morning I read my Bible and a devotion that “happened” to focus on Proverbs 20:15 — “Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.”

The Lord was gently reminding me about the most valuable things, and he wasn’t talking about expensive baubles. “Remember what the real jewels are, Julie,” God was telling me, and thankfully, I did.

Knowing Jesus and his love is a real jewel. Love is the most precious jewel of all, and on that Christmas Eve so many years ago, my life was filled with love. I just had to remember it.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of the God lives forever.  1 John 2:15-17

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