Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Giving

I've never read The Five Love Languages, but i've heard enough about them to discover that i am definitely not a gift-giver (or reciever). For me, material posessions feel too frivolous, too hollow, and too expensive to be a genuine expression of affection. If i find the right gift, i enjoy giving it, but giving gifts is someowhat unnatural for me. And so the gift-giving portion of Christmas can be a little difficult sometimes. It's hard to decide how much to spend and how many people to put on the gift list. Most of the time it's fine, and I do have spurts when i'm excited to spoil someone with the perfect present, but sometimes i just don't feel like giving.

However, during one of my lower gifting moods a few days ago, I realized that giving a gift you don't feel like giving is quite possibly more in line with the spirit of Christmas than I thought. Of course, usually we think that true giving is supposed to be enjoyable. Giving gifts out of obligation or to the ungrateful or undeserving is a vice to be avoided. But which kind of gift was Jesus? Certainly one given willingly, but do we know that he was given gladly? It was nearly more than the Father could afford. It was given to the ungrateful, the undeserving, and to people who would never give a comparable gift in return. God could have chosen not to send Jesus, but it seems like an element of obligation was probably present. I'm speculating about things beyond my understanding, but it wouldn't surprise me to discover that Jesus wasn't a fun gift to give.

So maybe when we have to give to people who already have more than they need, who won't be grateful, who won't give in return, who we really don't get along with very well . . . when the gift is more than we want to pay, could it be that those gifts are the ones that reflect the true spirit and meaning of Christmas? I'm not saying that Christmas is a depressing holiday all about obligatory gifts, but that perhaps when you give a gift that isn't fun, you've really tapped in to what it means to give like God gives. That sounds like something to be blessed for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Joy
I do not know if God felt "Joy" as He gave His Son for us. I usualy think of the gift of the Christ child as a gift given because of my needs more than a gift given because the giver felt I would enjoy it. It is a gift that has brought great Joy. But I do not think that I would have thought of asking for it or that I would have known that it was what I needed.
Knowing more about our need than even we know about ourselves, He freely gave weather He enjoyed the giving of the gift or not.
Thank you for your thought provoking writings. They give me alot to think about.
Alvin Wooters