(becoming) a good gift-giver

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  –James 1:17

Ah, the perfect gift.  What we’re always after.  That elusive perfect gift for each person on our list.  When we find it (or think we do), there’s that initial excitement – that sort of ta-da! moment.  That moment when, if we were in a movie, the edges of the screen would blur and a spotlight would shine on our treasure. 

While our motivation for finding the perfect gift is usually love for the person for whom we’re shopping, I wonder if we sometimes miss the point of gift-giving.  If our goal is to love the people on our lists, then it makes sense to consult the One Who loves them the most.  Ideally, when we look at the people on our lists, we should ask: What would God give this person? 

God’s main gift to us is His Son and His salvation.  If the person on my list doesn’t have that, then that’s what God would want to give him/her.  My question then becomes: how can my gift help with that mission? 

If the person on my list does have the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, then my question becomes: what does God want to give believers?  We’re told He came to give us life and give it to us abundantly.  How could my gifts contribute to a more abundant life in Christ for this person? 

By scanning the verses in which the word “gives” occurs, we can get an idea of some other things God gives us: light, encouragement, grace, freedom, strength, endurance, peace.  While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does give us an interesting starting point in picking out gifts.  Consider ways to give these gifts that might be tangible or intangible.

Encouragement might come in the form of a Christian book that addresses a struggle your friend is having.  But consider, too, a gift that keeps giving past Christmas.  These are often much harder to follow through on (but we can do all things through Christ, right?), but are often incredibly meaningful.  Perhaps you commit to sending your friend an encouraging or comforting note each month.  That sort of persistent attention can show God’s love in a way that a single gift might never be able to.

I’d encourage you to make a list of those you have to buy for (if you’re like me, you already have this list).  Those you don’t have gifts for yet, prayerfully consider what God would have you give them, and how.  If all good and perfect gifts are from God, a good place to start when looking for “perfect” gifts is on His list of gifts! 

Those you have gifts for already, prayerfully consider whether these gifts share God’s gifts with their recipients.  If it not, how might you alter them so they do?  Maybe this can be done with the addition of a Bible verse and note.  You might, for instance, give a cookbook with Psalm 34:8 attached (“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him”).  (Or you might embroider that verse on a kitchen towel, if you’re really ambitious).  Something like this may act as a reminder of God’s bountiful provisions, and might encourage your friend to see her daily “chore” of cooking as a way to serve God and serve her family.

Again, all of this should be prayerfully considered.  No one wants her gifts to be taken the wrong way or to sound like lectures.  Gifts should not be heavy-handed sermons, but they should be expressions of God’s love.

 

Another option for gifts:

I imagine most of you have heard of Samaritan’s Purse.  They do Operation Christmas Child and disaster relief at nearly every large-scale disaster (in the US and abroad), among many other things.

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift with eternal impacts, check out Samaritan’s Purse’s gift catalogue.  You can purchase a sheep or goat or honeybees or a fruit tree (among other things) for a family.  You can buy sports gear or blankets or milk.  You can also teach a child how to read and write or feed a hungry baby for a week.  So no matter whom you’re giving this gift in honor of, you’re likely to find something that will be significant to him or her.  Here’s the catalogue: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Giving/gift_catalog/

 

What is the most creative way you can think of to give someone one of the gifts on God’s list?  Share your ideas in the comment section below.

 

Previous Christmas Post: (becoming) joyful

Next Christmas post (on Monday): (becoming) ready for a Savior

To read the fully submitted series, click here: (becoming) fully submitted

To read the wife series, click here:(becoming) a godly wife

To learn more about this blog, check out the About page or the first post.

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