As Christmas is rapidly approaching, many of us are on a quest for the perfect Christmas gift. For Christians, gift giving is symbolic, modeled after the most perfect gift we were given by God; his one and only baby, Christ, whose mission was to save and breathe new life to humanity from death and entrapment by the evil one. Imagine a life warped with addictions, depressions, death and defeat after defeat with no hope of a better tomorrow. Well God saw it necessary to give a gift that would bring joy, hope and love, that if one so choose they may find eternal hope and peace. It was a sacrificial gift no money could ever buy, a gift that met our most pressing need.
So our gift giving, in a sense, is to try to be "little gods" to each other and give a sacrificial gift that offer hope as our Father's did. Sorry to my fellow evangelicals if my term "little gods" make you cringe but I'm using this term in the same way we all do when we sing "I want to be like God" on Sunday mornings. How many fathers don't want their children to follow their examples?
So, in search of the perfect gift, might I give some suggestions? Make a list of all the gifts you can give with no monetary tag. Next, make a list of those you would normally offer a Christmas gift to and identify their most pressing non-monetary need. It's harder to give sacrificially isn't it? Do you feel like you've duped in believing that Christmas was mostly about giving monetary gifts. We buy gifts for people we don’t like and are at war with, instead of making peace with them; the parents who have hurt us deeply, the estranged sister or brother, the fallen out between friends etc. etc. Monetary gifts cannot simply mend those broken relationships; it requires the sacrificial giving of something you cannot buy. We get our children gifts that pull them farther away from us when what they deeply need are parents who can be fully present (no pun intended). We get our wives flawless diamonds, when they're desperately trying to tell you they're dying inside and need you to love them and understand them. We get our husbands things we think they need when there is a weak man inside, slowly dying and desperately needing a wife who cares more about him than the list of how he can improve and make life better for her. We get friends the most perfect and thoughtful gifts when their deep desire is to be known and understood without judgment. We get our parents beautiful robes to keep them warm, when what they truly need is the warmth of our touch, to visit them and spend time with them.
Now I'm not against monetary gifts; hey, I have my eyes on a beautiful fossil bag (the one with suede flowers and leather), I have a thing for hand bags. My point is: let not monetary gifts replace gifts that give life, let not monetary gifts be used to appease deeper needs. On this Christmas, let us do as our Father and give gifts that offer hope, gifts that offer reconciliation and gifts that offer Shalom. And let our sacrificial gifts point to the greatest gift giver of all, our Father God!! Merry Christmas and Shalom to all!!!