I told myself I wasn't going to write about anything holiday related this year. But when inspiration strikes, I don't always have control, so, take it up with my Muse.
Although I may not be the jolliest celebrator of Christmas out there, I have nothing against what the holiday season causes most of us to pause and do.
For the family and friends we suddenly make time for; for giving gifts out of hearts full of love; for the generosity many allow their hands and pockets to show toward others who are less fortunate; for even just a glimmer of a thought that the reason for the season is based on the birth of our Savior: These things I have no ought for in the slightest, but rather they are the aspects I do appreciate about this time of year.
Really, we don't need a reason to give someone a gift. But I like that Christmas is an excuse to remind others that they matter, so we give them a blessing for the blessing they are to us.
The issue I do have with this whole concept, however, is that some people take it way too far.
The vast majority of the world right now is probably suffering from holiday-induced high blood pressure because gifting now seems to come with demands to outdo or impress everyone.
When the pressure to please with the perfect present and quantity instead of quality is the focus, how can anyone say they are still a cheerful giver?
Take a second and think of the best Christmas present you ever opened. What is
one gift you received that still stands out as worthwhile and rewarding?
Usually what comes to mind is something personal or thoughtful or one that lasted us a long time that we got a lot of use out of.
A great gift may not be defined as large, expensive, or even plenteous.
Infant Jesus only received three gifts, but they were the most precious, meaningful, and valuable gifts anyone in that day could have received, and they were fit for a King (Matthew 2:11).
We as Christians know the greatest gift we could have ever received was Jesus Himself, since we gained eternity through Him.
Nothing could ever compare to that gift.
As my pastor likes to say, that cross was the true tree of Christmas; it was a once-and-for-all, one-in-a-million gift that can be, and is, given over and over...and over again.
Romans 6:23 (KJV), "...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The whole point of giving a gift is not to create competition or expect something in return, but to spread appreciation for the ones we give to.
If it is truly given from the heart, the receiver no doubt feels this warmth, no matter what the gift itself is.
Likewise, Jesus gave, not because He had to, but because He wanted to.
He gave His everything--and not just His physical body. His entire heart and soul were laid down at Calvary.
The only request He made in return, was that we keep passing it on like one of those Giving Plates that are shared, reused, and re-gifted at every family holiday party.
God's seeds of love and salvation weren't given to us so that we could be greedy with them; He wants us to sow them out.
Because, as Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV) says, "...his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
We can't deplete God's storehouse. He just keeps scooping out handfuls of His endless supply.
Like those Russian nesting dolls that reveal another wooden doll inside another, or Mary Poppins' bag of inconceivable goodies, or even Willy Wonka's everlasting gobstoppers that keep changing flavor, each just as amazing as the last--His gift is unending to us.
But we have to continue the circle: He gave to us so that we can give to others.
And that, my friends, is the gift that keeps on giving.
When the Lord's innumerable joys fill to the brim in our own hearts, and then further boil over into the hearts of others too...
That kind of gifting is contagious. Not to mention free.
So, remember, sharing is caring.
Whether you can give a lot or a little this season; whether you give of your time and services or whether you create and share thoughtfulness with others through treats, kind words, or actual gifts, just remember to sprinkle on God's love along with it, and there's a good chance the stress of giving will subside.
With that, I leave you with this verse, because without His gift, where would we be?
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift," 2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV).
Happy Holidays to you and yours...until next year!
Labels: Calvary, cheerfulgiver, Christianity, Christmas, eternal, everlasting, familytime, gift, giving, greatestgift, holiday, presents, reasonfortheseason, salvation, sharingiscaring, spirituallyspeaking, unending