Gift giving is a fun part of the celebration of Christmas, isn’t it? I love to think of what to give to others and I hunt for Christmas gifts all year long. The custom of gift giving is most often traced back to the wise men and the gifts they brought to Jesus. But that’s not where gift giving really started. Years and years before the wise men ever hit the scene,as the foundations of the earth were being created, Our Heavenly Father God knew that we would sin and be separated from Him, so He planned the Gift of Jesus Christ, His Only Son, to us. This was the first Christmas Gift ever given.
Everything we have comes from God – all we receive and all we give. ”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17. When we give gifts, we are essentially sharing whatever it is that God has given us.
Some people are natural givers, and some just aren’t. Dr. Gary Chapman explains that each of us shows our love toward others in ways that come naturally to us – in the same ways that we like to receive love. (The Five Languages of Love). But because not everyone feels loved by receiving gifts, some people struggle with giving so many gifts during the Christmas season. Do you?
If we are honest, sometimes all of us struggle with joyful giving to those on our Christmas lists. I believe that there are a few valid reasons for this joy-less-giving. Among other reasons, I personally feel like a joy-less giver when:
- The gift is demanded, expected, and/or not appreciated.
- The gift is given out of obligation.
- The receiver isn’t an enjoyable person.
- Our money is tight (or gone!)
- Others are comparing my gift given with the gift they are giving.
- I am comparing my gift to those given by others.
- I overspend on a gift because it seems that anything less wouldn’t be well received.
These joy-stealers are effective at robbing us because the focus of the gift-giving situations above are in the entirely wrong direction!
When we give gifts, we need to get the focus off of ourselves. Plain and simple. We are not to give gifts because of how it will make us feel or appear. In fact, we aren’t even to give gifts based upon our love and affection or appreciation for the receivers. I believe that we are to give gifts from what we have because God gave to us, and He wants to bless others through us. We give to others in honor of Jesus. Period.
In Colossians 3:17, we are told, “Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in dependence upon His person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.” (Amp)
What would happen if you and I asked God to help us make our Christmas shopping and giving lists this year?
What would happen if you and I decided to give every gift to every person on our lists this year as if we were giving the gifts to Jesus through that person?
What would happen if you and I prayed for each recipient as we purchased or made and wrapped each gift?
My guess is that our focuses will be on Jesus instead of on ourselves, and that we will find joy in every gift we give. As we list, shop, and wrap this year, let’s determine not to do it for any other reason except to please Jesus.
Handmade or retail,
Full price or bargain sale,
Neither is the most important thing.
Motivated by above and
Given out of love -
That’s what honors Jesus as our King.
© Jennifer Crawford Walker, 2011
With prayers for each of you dear readers as you give gifts to them by giving unto Him, and as you prepare your hearts and homes for Christmas~
(This topic is expanded upon in Keeping Christ AS Christmas)
Read Keeping Christ AS Christmas
A practical and inspirational approach to seeking and finding Jesus this Christmas season, Keeping Christ AS Christmas offers simple strategies and sanity savers to help your Christmas be meaningful in a new and treasured way. Prepare your hearts, households, and homes for Peace this Christmas season by Keeping Christ AS Christmas.