The Greatest Gift
Gift giving is a tradition that came about at Christmas time to remember that God gave us the greatest gift when He sent His only Son so that we could have eternal life with Him in heaven.
It also reminds us of the three wise men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.
My Gift is Bigger Than Your Gift
So how did it get so out of control? Months before Christmas, stores are stocked full of gift options. Advertisements scream that each store has the best sale in the world. People stress and obsess over buying bigger and better gifts for their children. It’s almost a competition. And it absolutely has to arrive by Christmas! Heaven forbid if it comes a day late. We end up tired and irritable. We spend less time with the family because we are working overtime to pay for it. With all this emphasis on gift giving, the true meaning of Christmas has gotten lost.
What’s the Solution?
I don’t claim to have the perfect solution. And I don’t see this changing the world… unless, of course, everyone in the world changes their mindset.
I propose we give thoughtful gifts that we don’t involve working longer hours or sacrificing the mortgage payment to get.
A Gift for the Person Who has Everything:
Some give financial gifts to a charity in the name of the person they were giving the gift to. If you have the money to do that without sacrificing time with family or necessities, that is great. However, if you don’t have the money, I suggest volunteering some time to the organization. And don’t give up time with the family to do it. Take them with you. This is a great time to teach them about meeting real needs. Or save it for after the holidays. Many charities are overflowing with volunteers during the holidays but see a lack afterward. So, call your local rescue mission or other favorite charity. Find out when they need people most and schedule a time for you and your family to volunteer.
A Gift for Children
Instead of giving them a pile of gifts and being too tired to enjoy them together, I suggest giving the gift of togetherness. Spend time with them. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be today. Give a coupon, for instance, for an afternoon at the park playing catch with them.
A Gift for Parents and Grandparents
Most parents save pictures that their children make or hang them on the refrigerator. They love taking pictures of their children. Depending on their age, a home-made craft, a handprint or footprint is precious. If the child is older, perhaps a family photo in a nice frame or a scrapbook of pictures taken throughout the year. I know I would treasure that much more than a set of earrings or a bottle of perfume.
Some people like to give home-made gifts. I don’t do a lot of sewing but when I heard about fleece blankets that are no-sew, I started making them for all of my children and grandchildren. They are beautiful, warm, soft, and sentimental. And when it is home-made, it leaves a legacy long after you are gone.
Give Practical Gifts
To someone who has needs, you can meet those needs and give something beautiful as well… like a blanket… or a cup of coffee.
Give a Gift of Kindness
The easiest gift to give is the gift of kindness. Every time I hear a story of a random act of kindness, it touches my heart. I witnessed one first-hand the other day.
I went out to eat with some friends. When we walked into the restaurant, we saw a man sitting on a bench outside. He looked cold. I didn’t think too much of it. But, as we were paying the bill, my one friend asked for a cup of coffee to go. It was free because she drank coffee with her meal. On the way out to the car, she stopped and handed it to the man. As we drove away, I watched him warming his hands around the cup as he sipped the hot beverage. There was a look of relief on his face. It took less then a minute and didn’t cost a penny. Yet it probably meant a lot to that man.
How often are we presented with opportunities to perform a random act of kindness? That cup of coffee, a warm smile, a handful of change, or wishing someone a merry Christmas could make a huge difference in someone’s life!
The Real Meaning of Christmas
I try to stay out of the rat race of Christmas. I don’t spend my Thanksgiving camped out in front of stores so I can be the first one to get the great deal on a 60” tv. I don’t stress and obsess to compete in the gift-giving game. I try to give thoughtful gifts that have meaning behind them. I give practical gifts are beautiful and that meets needs. And I try to smile and spread good cheer to others I meet along the way. And this year I am learning that I could do much more to meet the needs of others. Like giving a cup of coffee or helping a neighbor carry in groceries.
What gifts are you giving this year?
My Gift to You
Here is a gift from me to you: my 10-part Spiritual Gifts Course. Just fill out the form in the right-hand column (or read my Spiritual Gifts post and fill out the form) and it will be on it’s way to you (after you confirm your email – my way of avoiding spam). I hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas!
Please leave a comment below. Tell us about the gifts you gave this year. We love to hear your thoughts.