“Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This is the season of giving. Many hours and much money will be spent searching out the “perfect” gift for those we love. That’s not always a bad thing. The problem comes when we get so caught up in our perfectionistic search that we lose the joy of the season and forget that we’re attempting to bless, not just fulfill a list of things we feel obligated to do.
God seems to take delight in reminding me of this.
I am usually done with the shopping by the end of October. With the onslaught of the end-of-the-year shows, orders, etc., it is a lot more fun for me when I can do my shopping throughout the year instead of racing out into the fray of the actual holiday shopping frenzy. Some people enjoy that rush and bustle. I am not one of them. (Thank you, Father, for making us all so very different!)
This year, there are still a few gifts left to find and purchase or make. I have been thinking about the ones I love and how blessed we are this year. For the most part, we are well, employed or involved in serving others and making plans to see each other at some point over the holiday season. Our daily needs are met. That is no small joy. In the face of such riches, I’m finding it difficult to add to the collection of ‘things’ we already have accumulated over the years. It’s not that I value my loved ones less, I just find that love isn’t always best expressed to them with a bow on top.
In almost 20 years of marriage, my husband and I have rarely exchanged Christmas gifts. Because there are just two of us, we generally pick out/pick up what we want throughout the year. Everyday we’re together is a great day–a great gift. That’s a lesson you learn when you face serious medical issues early in a marriage. You don’t wait to celebrate.
For the past several years, we’ve chosen to set aside some money to give to others at Christmas. That giving process becomes our Christmas. It suits us much better that way. Each year has been a bit different–the money may be used for specific requests that we receive or it may go to bless someone who would never dare to share their needs. God always seems to direct us in the path He’s chosen for our gifts in honor of His Son’s birth. It’s never a huge amount–we’re not rich–but over the years, we’ve watched God multiply what we have when joined with the gifts of others to meet needs that are truly God-sized for the recipients.
All of this leads me to a mid-week challenge for us: Spend some time thinking about someone you know who may be in need of some additional blessing this season. Search your budget or your schedule (sometimes TIME is needed more than cash and even a simple potted plant, a plate of cookies or an invitation to supper can add immeasurable cheer) and ask God who needs a bit of blessing this season. Longfellow was right: to the one in need, your small gift may be better than you dare to think!