At this time of the year many people have just finished, or are still Christmas shopping. My Dad was well known for his last minute Christmas shopping, and he had a habit of dragging one of his children to the shops to help him finish his shopping before closing time Christmas Eve. He always however gave me great presents; one’s he knew I needed, or wanted such as a dishwasher (I have a lot of dishes), a sewing machine, or special little things that would last.
The funny quirk he had however is that unless He could buy you something big or expensive, and what he really wanted to give you, was that sometimes you didn’t get your gift from him on the exact day. Sometimes your birthday gift would be months late.
Now that Dad has gone to permanently be with Jesus in heaven, I really appreciate his gift giving and that he made the effort, even if it was usually last minute, or a little late. I still have the sewing machine, the expensive jewellery and pictures he gave me. My kids treasure the toys, keepsakes and gifts that have outlived their Poppee’.
Sometimes we can feel like everything is just too rushed, expensive, and stressful at this time of the year. We can lose sight of the whole point of gift giving. That it is designed to be a blessing, to honour those you are giving to, and to let them know you have taken notice of their interests, and hearts desires. When we give a gift it isn’t about us, but about the person we are giving to. It is meant to reflect our love and appreciation of them in our life.
Jesus Himself was given gifts at His birth by the three wise men. They gave gifts that were significant, meaningful and no doubt later provided for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus while they were seeking refuge in Egypt from the murderous King Herod.
“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh”. (Matthew 2:11)
The bible says that there is power in a gift for,“Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people”. (Proverbs 18:16 NLT)
Today if you are a bit jaded about gift giving, and especially about your Christmas gift shopping, I encourage you to really step back and see the potential joy that is contained in the giving of a gift.
We can see the gifts we purchase and give as just something we should or have to do. Or we can choose to see the power in our giving, and the blessing and real demonstration of God’s love that has the opportunity to be contained in our gift.
It’s important to be mindful that the attitude behind our giving really matters to us, to the recipient of our giving and to God. There is a vast difference between being obligated to, and intentionally and cheerfully giving something to another person.
Paul said, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
The bible is full of giving; of gifts, and the love contained in that giving. Jesus is our ultimate gift, and He is the gift to mankind that just keeps on giving.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only on so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him”. (John 3:16-17 NLT)
Therefore God without a doubt is the ultimate big gift giver, and He encourages us to imitate Him. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17)
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children”. (Ephesians 5:1 NLT)
As you prepare for this Christmas season choose to see the value and blessing potential contained in the simple giving of your gift to another. It doesn’t even really matter how it is received if you give with love in your heart, and a desire to imitate God. The point is you have given, just as God did, and still does.
Prayer: Lord I thank you for the ability to give a gift, no matter how big or small. The point is for me to demonstrate love in my giving, and to look to bless and honour those in my life. Please give me wisdom, creativity and fresh ideas as I give this Christmas. In Jesus name. Amen.