My Christmas post was inspired by the sermon delivered by my pastor this past weekend. The message really resonated with me and I want to pass it on with my own personal take. I also wanted to give credit to Pastor Wade Mikels for the inspiration.
At this time of the year, people are always talking about gifts and analyzing what the true gifts in life are, and so on. But, Pastor Wade talked about the actual process that we all go through when purchasing gifts for other people. To some people, buying gifts for people is a chore and they get the first thing they can grab. They might throw it in a gift bag or quickly wrap it up. And, even that is more energy then they want to spend. It’s not that they are thoughtless. It’s just that while they want to give something that will be enjoyed; they haven’t a clue what that would be. Planning the perfect gift is truly an art form and not everyone is good at it.
I’m one of those people who LOVE finding the perfect gift. If I do say so myself…I have a gift for picking the perfect gift. Part of it is that I am observant. I pay attention when someone says they like something or they collect something or they need something. When I was younger, it was only necessary to make a mental note. But as I’ve aged, I’ve found I need to maintain an actual list of possible gift ideas. I also know that a perfect gift doesn’t have to be expensive or over-the-top. It can be something simple or quite practical. The perfect gift is not about the actual item but rather that it shows the recipient that he or she is loved, valued and important to the giver. When our son was working full time AND going to school full-time, my husband and I gave he and his wife the gift of a gardener for the year so he didn’t have to worry about it. Would some people think this a good gift. It wasn’t something that one could hold. But, this was the perfect gift to them.
I also believe that how I package the gift is part of the gift itself. I love making beautiful packages. Everyone knows when I have wrapped something because I take particular care to use beautiful paper and make gorgeous bows out of coordinating wired ribbon. I also will embellish packages with appropriate decorations in addition to the ribbon and bow.
This love of making the present look beautiful goes back to when I was a young teenager. My mother was quite busy and asked me to help her wrap some presents. She took some time showing me how to do a good job and she passed on many of her artistic gift-wrapping tricks to me. From then on, I was the one who wrapped most of the presents in our house…even my own.
While I worked at Disney, our department had great gift givers, particularly at Christmas. At one time, everyone gave every other person a gift, albeit a small one. But, over the years, our department outsourced several of the functions and our staff was reduced significantly. We changed our gift exchange process. Rather than each person having a gift for each co-worker, we got together and came up with one group gift for each person. And these weren’t small gifts. Most of us had a Disney character that was our favorite and we would frequently receive a very valuable collectable of our favorite character. As a group we worked together and looked hard to find just the perfect item for each person. And finding that perfect gift went on all year. And, as the recipient, we all felt loved and valued. I cherish each and ever item I received over the years and I display them in my home.
A gift serves two people…the giver and the recipient. It is a means for the giver to show just how important the recipient is to him or her. And, it’s a way for the recipient to understand just what they mean to the giver.
And here it is Christmas, where the exchange of gifts between friends and family seem to dominate the day. But, it is also where we celebrate the greatest gift of all. When God sent His son to die for us, He was sending the perfect present. He sent us what we truly needed. And, He valued us enough to make this gift so very significant and important. He gave us the gift of salvation. And it just wasn’t a general gift for mankind. It was a personal gift for Kelsey Ramirez-Raub. It was a personal gift for (insert your name here.) He so loved us that He gave His only son. When I think of the effort I spend in finding the perfect gift, I fall so sort of what our God did.
So, as you give gifts this year and receive them, what are these gifts saying to you and about you? Do you think about your gifts back to God the same way you think about gifts to family and friends? Are you even giving back to God. God should be at least as high on my gift giving list as my family and friends. How high is He in your gift giving priority? Consider praying about it. I know I will.