Gifts. We give ‘em. We receive ‘em.
So, really, what is a gift? I think of it as a way to communicate a feeling without expecting something in return. But gifts don’t always come with a bow on them. I’m at that point in my life where the gifts of time are more important than anything purchased for me. Many of the gifts we receive come from family, friends and from people and places we would never have imagined.
We have all heard the saying “it is better to give than receive”. I don’t know about you, but I believe this. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think the feeling I receive in giving is a gift right back to me. Making someone happy is a gift from God and is a simple way of saying ‘I love you’. Again, I would rather be gifted time, a kind word, a remembrance or even a smile than something wrapped up with a bow.
The gift that didn’t happen
Just today I felt like a gift was taken from me……one which had already put a smile on my face before I had even delivered it. I was looking forward to gifting a friend. The gift was something rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But it made me feel happy knowing I was planning on doing something nice for someone. Then it happened. Someone else beat me to the punch and gifted the same thing to my friend. They ended up experiencing the joy I was looking forward to. And I felt the sadness of not making my friend happy. My heart and my effort to show humility in the name of Jesus, tells me I should just be glad my friend has the gift, even though it didn’t come from me. I felt the joy had been taken from me in making another person happy.
Jesus to the rescue
So, what did I do? I ended up going to the place I always go to when I am confused, splashed with a few tears. I spent a little time with Jesus this evening. I am still disappointed I couldn’t have felt the joy in gifting my friend, but the hurt will lessen with time. I credit Jesus with helping me through this. My friend doesn’t realize the hurt I feel. I guess this is where my new favorite word needs to be called upon….HUMILITY.
I work hard not to forget the most precious gift I possess……my relationship with Jesus. Yes, it is a gift. But it is one that needs to be realized and not taken for granted. My time spent with Him has gotten me through a lot of sad times in the last year or so. It is a gift for me to know I always have Him to talk to when I am feeling unloved or unappreciated.
The gift of the heart
Gifts of time are probably the most precious gifts to give to those who are lonely or who are at the age when receiving Christmas or birthday gifts are no longer expected. When the phone rings and the person on the other end didn’t call for any other reason than just to talk, no packaged gift can compare. Gifts can be complicated things when they are not always enclosed in wrapping paper with a bow on it. But they are the ones most treasured.
A little advice……..it is important to remember not to say “You didn’t have to do that” or “I don’t deserve this” when receiving a gift. These responses can be hurtful to those who gift us. Time, money, effort and love likely went into that gift and throwing cold water with these comments will likely hurt. A simple thank you, a hug or a visible display of emotion can make all the difference in how your reaction to their gift is displayed. They took the time to select something special for you. Allow them the gift of that special feeling.
The greatest gift of all
I’ve focused this writing on the word “gift”. But my reason for writing about gifts is so much bigger. Gifts come in so many forms. Jesus wants us to be givers, not takers. Afterall, his example of giving has to make us remember the ultimate gift….. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Nope. We’ll not top that gift. But “trying” is the gift that keeps on giving. Try it. Give someone something today that costs nothing, doesn’t come with a bow and can’t be seen. Give someone your time, your love, your appreciation, or yourself. You’ll get back so much more in God’s love and likely a warm feeling to go with it.