By Linda Bridges
I love receiving gifts!
Don’t we all? Little ones, big ones! It doesn’t matter.
A gift says so many things.
“I love you.”
“I thought of you today.”
“You are special!”
I love giving gifts!
Gifts make us feel special and loved. I get great satisfaction in looking for little gifts for the people in my life. As I think about my friends, a relative, a sweet child, I often find myself connecting with something that I think might bring them joy. Things come to mind—a favorite tea, a toy, a scent, a lotion–even a special food. And I often find myself calculating the contents of my purse to see if it is within my financial means to purchase it, or acquire it some unique way. Other times it’s something I create myself—a poem, a story or a picture I’ve painted, a craft I put together–a gift certificate for them to enjoy something they like. I call these findings my little “Treasures”.
I did this recently for my little friend, Pippa—a darling, precocious four-year-old child. I learned late that Pippa’s birthday had just passed, by two days. Since my husband and I were invited over to Pippa’s house for dinner that evening, I jumped into action, searching around the house for little treasures I thought Pippa might like. I assembled them into a fun gift bag. When we arrived, I could hardly wait to give my gift to Pippa.
“Pippa, I have a special surprise for you,” I announced. “Since I missed your birthday, I found a few things in my house I thought you might like–a little birthday gift a few days late.”
Big-eyed and full of suspense, she took the bag and politely opened it. Pippa loved each and every little trinket inside—all ‘little-girl-sized’—handpicked just for her. We hugged and she scampered off to play with her new gifts. What fun I had that day–giving a gift. What fun she had–receiving it.
Christmas is the designated season for gift-giving
Yes, I like giving presents. Maybe you do, too! Maybe you love receiving them just as much as giving them. December has arrived and Christmas is the designated season for gift-giving—for Christians, and others alike. AND boy do we Americans do it up big! As a culture—we are ‘gift-givers.’ Don’t you agree?
Everywhere we go, flyers, signs, billboard advertisements, and TV commercials flash brilliant ideas at us of things that would make just the ‘perfect’ gift. Sometimes, all this hype–even for gift givers like me—it gets a little overwhelming.
How about the I-thought-of-you-today-gift ?
I, personally, love receiving gifts made by hand, or ‘lovingly found’ with me in mind. I love the surprise gift—the kind that comes without expectation or strings attached. The one that happens on an ordinary Tuesday (or any day, for that matter), any time of the year. I love the I-thought-of-you-today-gift that comes unexpectedly, with a smile and hug. Don’t we all long for that kind of gift?
The Ultimate Gift
I enjoy looking at Nativity Scenes depicting the birth of Christ. Each one is unique and beautiful to me. They remind me that great kings, ordinary people, and even simple children alike, came to bring Christ a gift–welcoming him into this world. I’m sure few realized, at the time, that Jesus Christ IS himself, the gift to us!
The bronze nativity below is in Cologne, Germany–near their cathedral. And behold, the three kings bringing gifts to the new-born King–as modern-day children look on. I love it!
Baby Jesus was/is the ultimate gift. God is the ultimate gift-giver. His sacrificial gift to mankind—a lasting gift to us, shows us just how much God loves us. Knowing our sin-problem, God created the most beautiful, unexpected, valuable gift imaginable, for all time–His very own son–brought into this world to be our Savior.
Why would he do that? Because he knew it would bring us great joy. He announced his gift with a host of angels, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (see Luke 2:1-20 for more of the Biblical account.)
Even though God’s gift arrived centuries ago, the impact of that gift is still with us today. Christians around the world still take time to appreciate this amazing gift–and Christmas Eve is a most sacred time of the year. We sing about it. Children perform Christmas Pageants year after year, telling this story with great fervor. Composers have written scores of music telling the world the good news that on this day, a Savior was born–Christ the Lord. We lovers of Christ, give gifts to others, pouring out generosity in His name—honoring Him–the most amazing gift of all.
Yes, Christ is the Ultimate gift—And God is the ultimate gift-giver, his gracious expression of Love, Joy, and Peace–to us.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:14)
Thank you for stopping by my blog site today. I pray that you will take a moment to ponder this whole concept of gift-giving–both the receiving and the giving. What does it really mean to you. Does it lead your thoughts back to the most gracious Gift-Giver of all time–God, the Father? I hope so. I has mine.
Linda K. Bridges
Note: Linda is a career missionary and Bible teacher for more than 35 years, having lived on foreign soil in both Austria and Thailand. Through her ministries she has traveled and taught the Bible in more than 20 countries, most recently in Nepal and Ukraine. She is also an author and children’s storybook illustrator and loves painting, writing poetry, and blogging.