What would Christmas be without presents? I know, the true meaning doesn’t have much, if anything, to do with gifts except the great gift the world received of God’s son, but it’s still fun to give them. I’m not one who likes to receive them, though (at lease not as much as when I was a kid).
One thing I will say about my father is that, if he’s anything, he’s dedicated to a plan. When my sister and I were only about seven or eight years old, Dad began to send us our Christmas gift early so we could have some spending money. Keeping in mind, that was around 1970 and money was worth a lot more then, he would send us both $100 each for Christmas. Ever since then, there hasn’t been a Christmas go by when he didn’t send us each $100 (and $50 for our birthday).
He probably knew it, but each year, at least until we got jobs, we would use the money to buy everyone their presents. Our gift was being able to give gifts, and that, was the greatest gift my dad could have given us.
I’ll never forget shopping in our small, historical downtown when it was snowing, and the Christmas lights were all lit. Every year, I would get my grandfather the same gift: black socks and tobacco for his pipe. For my uncle, it was a bottle of Brut cologne. For my grandmother, it was something for her sewing or kitchen. For my mother and sister, it was usually something they didn’t want, but always appreciated… (well, Mom did anyway).
Throughout my life, I’ve never really been a good Christmas shopper, to tell you the truth. It’s usually a gift card (or two) and a nice card with something thoughtful written inside. I’ve just found it easier and people tend to like to spend money on something they want. And, I avoid the embarrassment of getting them something they hated.
In our home today, it’s the Mrs who manages the Christmas shopping and she does a great job of it. After dinner tonight at Scotty P’s where we grabbed a couple of burgers, we went through what we got everyone so I could not act as surprised when they open their gifts, as they are. I still have a few presents to take care of this week, but that should be wrapped up soon.
While we were talking, I had the thought that it sure would be nice if, for just one year, the adults could agree to give a gift to a favorite charity in place of a direct gift. The Mrs reminded me that the kids wouldn’t care too much for that, so it would need to be just the adults. If we could do that, I think the meaning of Christmas would be even more felt. Who knows, maybe I’ll try it next year.
If there’s anything to take from this whole Christmas shopping tradition, it’s that it’s better to give than receive. I know that’s not usually something we think of as children, but as adults, we can see how much joy others receive and how, though it’s nice to be remembered, it feels so much better to bless others.
This Christmas, it may be tight financially and gifts may not be what you’d hoped to give, but always remember that, it’s not what you give, it’s the love that comes with it that counts. I know the pressure and guilt associated with the season can be tough too, but if we keep our eyes on just loving others, even with a simple gift, it will help us to look past all those traditional emotional complexes that come along the way.
I wish I could give you all a gift for Christmas. What I can give, is a wholehearted thank you and virtual hug for being a part of my life. You are loved and appreciated. Never forget that you are not alone; God is always with you. He loves you more than anyone else could ever love you. And, the gift He gave, far surpasses any gift I could give…
Wishing you all a blessed holiday weekend ahead my friends.
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