One of my most memorable childhood Christmases was when my sister, brother, and I were in grade school, and Santa brought us a cassette tape recorder, a thirteen-inch black and white TV, and a ping pong table (obviously a thousand years ago). I don’t know if we were unusually good that year, but I’ve never forgotten the surprise and extravagance of it all.
Gifts with special meaning attached are our favorites, aren’t they? Every handmade gift from my children — and the one crafty gift from my husband — is a cherished treasure. Through the years, family and friends have delighted me time and again with gifts that tell me they know me and love me.
If you’re like me, giving the perfect gift is even more wonderful than receiving one. Is there any better feeling than when you come up with an idea that you know will bless the person’s socks off? I could barely contain my excitement when I thought of a surprise for my husband’s fortieth birthday (a book created with pages from family and friends). His reaction when he opened it was as priceless as the gift itself. Mission accomplished.
Thoughtful gift-giving is a tangible expression of love. When you’re able to come up with the perfect gift, it’s a beautiful reflection of the relationship between the giver and receiver. I think this is why most of us would rather not give money or gift cards. While we might appreciate receiving them, something about giving money or gift cards doesn’t quite feel right. They certainly don’t convey the intimacy and affections we hold for one another.
In the midst of holiday shopping and thinking of gifts to give this season, I’ve been thinking about the kind of gifts that hold deep meaning — the kind that leave an impression and make the receiver feel loved. In a recent conversation with a few close friends, one of them shared something she’d heard from her daughter’s college pastor: “The people we’re closest to need us to be close to Jesus.” Blink, blink.
The people I’m closest to need me to be closest to Jesus.
Sit in that a moment. Let it seep in to your heart’s deepest places.
As we’re scurrying around trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list, perhaps the most important gift we can give to someone is Jesus. Growing more deeply in our relationship with Him, we are changed and become more like Him, and as image bearers of God, we can give a glimpse of true love, unending grace, and deep joy to anyone and everyone around us.
One of the most well-known Bible verses — maybe the first one you memorized or heard — reveals that God Himself is the ultimate gift-giver:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)
The gift that cost God everything gave us the good news found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Him, we can know forgiveness, redemption, and a new life with Him now and forever. He is a gift not bound by supply chain issues and shipping delays; He is the most extravagant gift — one that gives peace and satisfies our deepest longing.
It’s fun and even meaningful to exchange presents at Christmas, but nothing we buy can surpass the gift God gave us in His Son. By being close to Jesus and living a life that reflects Him, we can give the perfect gift that everyone needs — a wonderful Savior, the Prince of Peace, a God who loves with no bounds.Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
AMEN! Beautifully written truth. Bless you for sharing this morning.
Robin Dance says
Merry Christmas, Ruth :). Thank you for reading today!
Michelle Stiffler says
Wholehearted YES!! When I think about those who have affected me most over my lifetime, there’s one common thread – they showed me the
grace, compassion, kindness, love, understanding, and peace of Jesus. Those qualities result only from closeness to Jesus. Lord, may we draw close to You. And may we stay there. Thanks, Robin!
Robin Dance says
It’s lovely to think about what it is about special gifts that make them special <3. I long for my gifts to be significant because of what they convey...a common bond in Christ is beautiful.
Thank you Robin – a very timely, significantly important message & one to be cherished.
Blessings & Merry Christmas.
Sooo beautifully written! You commented on the very personalized gifts we make or buy but, the gift of Jesus is the best. Wow! We often don’t think of giving others the wonderful news of Jesus, or even reminding them that He is the “star” of Christmas. Thank you.
Meryy Christmas, Sandy
So beautifully written! You commented on the very personalized gifts we make or buy but, the gift of Jesus is the best. Wow! We often don’t think of giving others the wonderful news of Jesus, or even reminding them that He is the “star” of Christmas. Thank you.
Merry Christmas, Sandy
My apologies for the duplication. Not sure how the first comment was sent with it’s mistakes. Computers!!??
Becky Keife says
Robin, yes, it all boils down to this: “The people I’m closest to need me to be closest to Jesus.” Thanks for the encouragement to let that sink in!
I loved this more so because it’s a perfect translation of what has been on my heart lately. I too love John 3:16. I like to call myself a whosoever. There are no caveats to that scripture, no race bias, no gender bias, no monetary bias, no age bias, no weight or height requirements to meet. There is no background check to make sure we are safe to be around. God is the ultimate decision maker and he says that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
I pray we would all join the ‘whosoever’ club and invite others to join as well.
Jeannie Waters says
Thank you, Robin for this beautifully written reminder of the perfect Gift and how important our relationship to Him is.
Beth Williams says
Thoughtful hand made gifts are the best. Anyone can go out & get “something” for someone. But taking the time to really think about the person & what he/she would need or enjoy speaks love. One simple way I do that is to cook for people. Love to make delicious dishes that they can enjoy without having to cook or clean. It is my way of letting God’s light shine through me.
I have a co-worker who has had two really bad years. First she got Covid & pneumonia, then her dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Lastly her brother got Covid & pneumonia while dad was back in hospital. The brother ended up dying. In the midst of that she has to work 12 hr. shifts as RN. I took some homemade mac & cheese & chicken & dumplings for her lunch. Lastly I gathered some cookies & more mac & cheese. My & God’s way of saying we see & care for you.