Who We Are

The Founder






Est. 1996


Gifts to the Beloved
By Shannon Parish

Hypnotically delighted, I watched the diamond- like bursts of color and light sparkle and gleam as they traveled across our living room wall and ceiling.  Hour upon hour, I would sit on the sofa and watch as our silver, aluminum tree quietly rotated, bathed in color from the color-wheel set against the far wall.

For some reason, the Holidays stirred wistful emotions and dreams as I prayed silently in my heart about what my future might be. Whether it was dreaming about boys and promised love, or self worth and identity, the Christmas tree spoke of promises and future destiny to the young girl I once was.

A tiny babe wrapped in the manger a long time ago spoke also of these heart felt yearnings.  Bringing Himself as a spotless, priceless gift to humanity, His life and presence on this Earth spoke of the greatest gift there was.  The gift of love, purpose, hope and destiny.

Many did not recognize Him for who and what He was.  They passed by and paid no attention to the plainly wrapped bundle in the poor woman's arms.  Who could have imagined the impact this gift from God to His Beloved would bring?

During this Christmas season, we press through crowds and panic attacks to purchase meaningless gifts with money that we often do not possess, that will not change lives, nor heal wounded hearts.   Yet we overlook the greatest gifts of all and regard them carelessly as insignificant and useless.  The gifts I speak of are those which lie sleeping inside of us, periodically causing our hearts to beat with passion and yearning.  But, because of our careless considerations of those gifts within ourselves, we turn away from the most cherished blessing of all that the tiny babe brought on that night so long ago.

Jesus promised us life, and life more abundantly.  However, if you consider your thoughts, actions and attitudes during this past year, can you say that you have partaken of that life abundance?  Not only have I said it with my own mouth, I've heard others wail that life was not fulfilling and their self worth was non existent.  Their identities lay in the works and words of other people, not in who they were - so their hearts cried out in anguish for something that they thought they had lost.  

The gifts I speak of are the talents and abilities that reside in each one of us.  Not a person on this Earth is without a gift of life from the Father, to the Beloved.  Our gifts are like the proverbial candle that is not to be hidden under a bushel, but brought to the lamp stand where all can bathe in its glow and warmth. 

Ask somebody what they wish they could do in life, and you will more often than not get an answer that is colored in frustration and despair.  The person will say, "I have no gifting, or abilities, and I have no clue what I'd really like to do."  But if you could read the heart and the mind, I'll wager that even as they speak, something has come to mind that is so precious, that they dare not speak of it for fear of being ridiculed or shamed..

Like the people in Old Bethlehem who passed by the humble father, his bride and their tiny baby boy without considering the value of the gift in their presence, we ignore that tiny gift of hope inside our own breast.  Our gifts are not for us to hide in secret and grief, but to be shared with all, as an extravagant expression of our Heavenly Father's love.  

Your gift of hospitality may have been judged useless by you and other thoughtless people, but in the eyes of God, it is His tender touch to His children and little lost lambs.  Your gift of humor and encouragement brings hope and joy to those who have become overburdened and filled with despair.  Your gift of organization brings order and purpose, and your gift of teaching brings vision.  Do not despair or grieve over what you have not lost.  Rather, take a step of faith and do that which you yearn to do.  Expressing your love to your Heavenly Father through that which makes you, you, is the greatest gift of all as it brings completion and life abundant to the Body of Christ - the Hope of the World.

Our Gift to HIM is His gift to us, returned as an expression of joy.


Matt 25:25
"And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground ....."

Matt 25:29
"... For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance;"

(Do not hide what has been entrusted to you, just because it came easily to you.  What you have, use, and more will be given to you.)

Eph 4:7-8
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: 

"When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 


A Cartoonist, Graphic Facilitator and Creative Life Coach, Shannon Parish devotes her life to encouraging those who are fed up with the 'status-quo' and are determined to discover and pursue their purpose and destiny in life through one-on-one mentoring, facilitated workshops and retreats.


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(c) copyright 2010 All world rights reserved, Shannon Parish, Living Stones Center.
For reprint permission, please email me.


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Sarah's Tent (Est. 1997)
Living Stones Center
Broomfield, CO  80020-4801




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