The Christmas tree is up and and lights and decorations are perfectly placed around the house. The busyness of the holidays has begun. These days we can’t even get through Thanksgiving without everyone running to the store to get gifts for their loved ones, their coworkers, their kid’s teachers, etc. Yes, I was out shopping Thanksgiving evening even though I hate the fact that it cuts into what should be a whole day of family and thanksgiving for what God has blessed us with. While I was at the store that evening, getting my grandson a gift, I looked around at the craziness of the people that were out shopping. I was out there to get only one thing that I tried to get online but it was already sold out in 3 minutes after the sale posted. Everyone was lining up by the items they were desperate to get. Some people were very courteous but many were there to get whatever they could get their hands on with no respect for other people. One lady even said out loud “I wonder how many noses I’m going to have to punch today.” Many people didn’t come out with specific items in mind that they wanted to buy, they came out to buy whatever they could get their hands on. Some would walk by stuff and say “Maybe I should buy that, I hadn’t planned on it, but it’s a good deal.” We have become a society of consumption.
When the sale started everyone dashed and grabbed what they wanted in a frantic gesture as if they were starving and it was the only food they had seen in days. Carts went by me overflowing with stuff that I’m sure would be wrapped and given with really no thought to the person they were given to. I can understand that, because there was a time when I would buy and give gifts without much thought to the gift or the person, only for the sake that they all had a gift. It was more about the number of gifts or the amount of money spent on the gift to impress. I had to out-give the other person so I looked good or they thought I loved them more. When was it that gift giving became more about ourselves and the satisfaction that we got out of giving?
I had very large Christmases growing up because my parents went out of their way to make Christmas special for us. Or at least they thought the amount of gifts would make it more special. My parents did not always have the money to give us a big Christmas but they sacrificed to give us everything we thought we wanted. In reality looking back I remember a few gifts I received that I loved but most importantly it was the memories and traditions that reside in my heart from my childhood. Those memories don’t take money, just time with the special people in our lives. My daughter’s first Christmas I had 25 gifts under the tree for her. She was just under a year old. What did a one year old need 25 gifts for? She would never remember them. I spent money I didn’t have, wrapped them all and unwrapped them because she couldn’t and for what? She played with the paper and the boxes more than the gifts! Oh but I made sure that I had a picture of all those beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree, I guess for my pleasure.
I still love to give my kids and grandkids gifts. Over the years though I have learned that it’s not about the number of gifts or the amount spent, it’s about the gift that has some meaning and importance to them. I try to find gifts that I know they need or really want. I try to find things that I know they wouldn’t go out and buy for themselves or gifts that are well thought out. I know that I would much rather get a $5 gift from somebody that really thought about me and what I would enjoy, rather than a $100 gift that has no thought behind it in regards to my desires. God could lavish us in luxury, because He can. But would we really appreciate it or even remember what He had given us? No, because it wouldn’t be special. The best gifts from God are things that I have asked God for and believed in Him for. God wants to give us good gifts even more so than we want to give our kids good gifts. But God knows that if He gave us everything that we thought we wanted, not everything would be good for us. He is a good Father and He gives us well thought out gifts that He knows will bless us. Those gifts that we get from God mean so much more to us because we know that He specifically picked them out and gave them to us. So this year while you’re out shopping and picking out gifts for people, take a moment and think about the person and what would touch their heart and mean the most. Don’t feel you have to out-do someone else or what you got them last year. It’s more about the thought and time you put into the gift, not the amount you spent or the number of gifts under the tree. And remember the most precious gift God gave you, His son! Yes the gift was a big sacrifice but it was also directly from the heart of God.