Precepts & Life Preservers

Faith & The Big D

The Gift That Alters, The Manger An Altar

Ever get a gift that altered everything?

Ever had a gift you’ve received create a real impact?

Not just something lovely and good or that knocks something else off ‘the list’ but such a gift that it put in motion a series of journeys or changes or altered you for good? Where promises were fulfilled?

A gift you couldn’t deny would start something new?

I must admit, I’ve had a few over the years that I would say fit that description.

My fourteen year old self who was given her first canvas and oil paints, and the entire world of art was opened up to me and it was like a hidden part of me was let loose.

The first time my seventeen year old self held a camera and used a darkroom (yes, an actual room, with actual negatives and the smell of developer) and years later when my husband surprised me with my first digital camera, again a new world was opened up.

Even my diagnosis for Early Onset Dysthymic Disorder was an amazing gift. At the age of 39 that title meant I wasn’t a lousy, lazy, fake, ill, confused wife/mom/human after all but someone on a journey with a mood disorder since eleven years of age, who needed help navigating life. That gift of diagnosis set me free from so many things, and put me on this journey I’m on right now, writing for you.

Clearly I’ve been thinking much about gifts.

It’s not that unusual. Christmas is fast approaching now, and more than receiving, I love the act of thinking about all of the people I love and digging up the best ways to show it with a gift.

I spent time today thinking about the gift. One that would rock someone’s world.

But it was before I stopped to look at any physical list. It was during my quiet time in His presence before I was tempted to obsess about presents.

It was about my time in His presence before I was tempted to obsess about presents. Click To Tweet

It was a gift that affected lives, created an impact felt for thousands of years, and started journeys that altered lives both immediate, and for centuries to come.

A gift who could alter us today if we let it. Altered at a manger, the best Christmas altar, to bow and worship before or lay our lives down at, that we’ve ever known. Since the first of the shepherds, since the first kings with their gifts.

This incredible gift meant not just to delight, but to save. A living gift wrapped in his mother’s arms, His heavenly Father watching it all, the shadow-whisper of a cross in the light of that star. A gift that would have a ripple effect of eternal proportions.

And talk about altering everything. Or journeys started. Or lives changed.

History hung on a young girl’s yes. An honest man’s honour. A census set in motion. A ruler’s insecurities threatened. A landlord’s cave filled with animals. The obedience of local shepherds. The call of kings far away.

Born into a cave. For all of us.

Resurrected from a cave. For all of us.

I had to let the magnitude sink in.

The Father certainly knows how to put together the best of gifts.

A gift with an overwhelming and holy impact. Goes by the name of Immanuel. So that we’re never alone. And never lost. Ever again.

It’s easy to forget the first Christmas gift in the swirl of festivities. It’s easy to think maybe there’s nothing left for you at Christmas either, as reality looms large lately.

But there’s this one gift.

You don’t want to miss it.

He waits at the mouth of a cave.

Newly born, and then newly risen. And that shadow of a cross is just that. Nothing more than a shadow. One that disperses every time we accept the gift, wrapped in His Light.

I could weep at the divine goodness of it all.

What is the best gift of the season? The kind that alters everything...

He is the gift that forever alters.

He is the gift that forever alters. Click To Tweet

So approach the throne of the One who loves you that much, via the Christmas altar. That altar in the shape of a manger. An altar ready for shepherds and kings. An altar for everyone. See them all bow low. Marveling at the wonder of it all. Lay down all the things, all the trials, all the needs.

And receive the gift still waiting just for you.

And then get ready.

This is exactly the kind of gift that doesn’t end with Christmas. It will  put in motion a series of journeys, or changes, and it might even alter you for good. Where promises are suddenly fulfilled.

Wait. Where have I heard that before? *wink*

The kind of gift you can’t ever deny, with ramifications you can’t ever imagine.

All at the Christmas altar.

All from the Gift that alters every time.

And all we have to do?

Is accept.

Have you accepted your gift yet?


P.S! And speaking of gifts, I have something this season for all my subscribers! Have you signed up yet as an email subscriber? I don’t want you to miss out on the download I’ve created just for you…

Your free PDF for navigating Christmas while staying mentally healthy!

Interested? I asked readers what they might need for the holiday season in full swing, and you asked for practical ways to keep sane during the Christmas season, easy things that you can do to boost your mental health!
Sign up below, from my heart to yours!


I’m linking up today with Holley Gerth
and her linkup #CoffeeForYourHeart!

And also over at Crystal Storm’s linkup
#HeartEncouraging Thursday!
Will you click on the hashtags above and join us where so many good words are flowing?


  1. well said Christine. so true and yet so easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of “doing Christmas”. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. praying you will have an awesome, God blessed, Christmas.
    PS I did sign up but did not receive that free download.
    And I love Holley Gerth!

    • Christine Duncan

      December 14, 2016 at 9:24 AM

      Holley is fantastic! I’m inspired every time I stop in at her blog 🙂
      And thanks for the heads up, Sandi, I’ll check to see if your email is there… sometimes these things wind up in spam or other folders right in email, so be sure to check those too!

  2. So glad to be your neighbor on Holley’s #CoffeeForYourHeart linkup today. I miss you, sister! Loved this post, and it’s exactly what I needed to read today. “He is the gift that forever alters.” Amen, amen, amen. Love you!

  3. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts about the true gift of Christimas. This especially touched me today: “History hung on a young girl’s yes. An honest man’s honour. A census set in motion. A ruler’s insecurities threatened. A landlord’s cave filled with animals. The obedience of local shepherds. The call of kings far away.” My heart is overwhelmed at the way God called all of these ones into the writing of HIS story. To think how even one “NO” would have changed things, and yet God continues to offer to us the choice to join in with Him to share HIS GIFT! Amazing!! Blessings to you!

  4. Oh, yes!!! He is that Gift. Oh, that I would remember this and live it every day. I love the word association (as I love words anyway!). But the emphasis is far more than a surface alteration. It can be deep and grow deeper if I will allow that…and I surely want to!

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