It would be hard to envision a better gift-giver than my wife. It’s just part of her makeup – she cares deeply for people, she knows them very well, and she gives gifts that are an expression of both of these things. It is never a one-size-fits-all scenario. Each gift is given as a celebration of the recipient’s personality, tastes, and identity. This is why each member of our family received something for Christmas that looked very different from all the others. And for her, the excitement of Christmas is as much (if not more) about seeing everyone else open what she’s picked out for them as it is about anything she herself receives.
Over the years, I’ve certainly not been on the same level as she is. Where the idea of giving good gifts comes naturally to my bride, I have to work at it, and it’s possible to work – even to work hard – at all the wrong things. I can be efficient, getting things done quickly and completely. I can be value-conscious, spending money well. And I can be quick to decide, not agonizing over choices. All of these things are helpful, but all of these things can harm the gift-giving process! Going through the process from the perspective of my wife, however, is helpful, even if I don’t come to it naturally. Start with love, work through what you know of the recipient, and give gifts accordingly.
Of course, the Christmas season is not primarily about unwrapping gifts around the Christmas tree. It is about the best gift ever sent, the Lord Jesus Himself. The gift of Jesus likewise begins with love:
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” – 1 John 4:11-14
And it is born out of Him knowing and identifying with us:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:14-15
Unlike me, God did not choose to be quick, cheap, or easy with His gift. What does that say about God?
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:31-32
The gift of Jesus is not just a Baby in a Manger, and it isn’t even “just” about a simple notion of salvation. It is a life lived to the fullest, driven with purpose, supplied with all our needs. Best gift of all! I pray you know it.