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