Don’t count me off as Ebeneezer Scrooge’s little sister! Hear me out. Tonight I began my Christmas shopping (T-6 Days, I know) and was struck with an overwhelming sense of guilt. What happened to good tidings of great joy? Read on.
It is more blessed to give than to receive, I don’t deny that. What I learned tonight is that giving for the wrong reasons is a horrible excuse to fulfill the old adage.
Have you ever felt guilty for not giving someone a gift? I think at Christmastime, those feelings become even more acute. The dreaded moment when an unsuspecting someone approaches you with a, “Guess who’s got a present under the tree!?” (Maybe your buddies aren’t that corny – I hope they aren’t – but you get the idea.) You are in a tight spot my friend.
If you were me about 6 hours ago, you would have slide into the car like Bo Duke and put the lead out to make it to some Stuff-Mart. I did the ritualistic scouting of the gift aisles and thought the usual last-second shopper thoughts. “O, they might like that (insert item he really wouldn’t like).” “If only that had (insert seriously ugly item) in a different color, she would really like it. I guess this one will work.” And the last stitch-effort “You know what, I’ll just get them a gift card.”
Yep. Classic guilt.
I made my purchases quickly and hit the road. It wasn’t ten minutes later I decided to return all those purchases.
I decided that a gift given out of guilt is no gift at all.
In 2013 I’m going to do gift-giving a little differently. You may not get a present from me this December 25th, or even next, but I promise you that I’m committing to loving people – to loving you – better all year long. If I see something in June that reminds me of you, I’ll get it. If I think about you in March, I’ll send a note in the mail. If you’re having a bad day in October, I’ll take you out for a cup of coffee. I don’t see the point in letting the pressures of the season dictate generosity, but I do see great value in allowing Jesus to continue to work on my heart so I can give as fully and love others as freely as He did.