It is more blessed to give than to receive. – Jesus
As Christmas approaches, I keep going through my mental checklist of the people for whom I still need to purchase a gift. I also created a wishlist on Amazon primarily because I’m always told how difficult it is to find gifts for me.
“You’re so difficult to shop for.”, they say.
To they, I reply, “No, I’m not.”
Then they ask, “Well, what do you want?”
With pity, I reply, “I don’t know.”
With exasperation, they say, “See?!”
They may have a point.
So, I created the wishlist and I plan on keeping it up-to-date.
However, as I look over the items there, I wonder what my reaction would be upon receiving one of those gifts. Don’t get me wrong – I’d completely appreciate the gift and truly feel grateful for receiving it. (In fact, test me on this. I dare you to buy me one or more of those items and if I’m not appropriately thankful, you can blast me in the comments below.) The problem is I always feel awkward when I open a present. Somehow, I feel selfish receiving a gift on Christmas.
The one thing I enjoy tremendously, though, is giving gifts to my loved ones. And my sister. (Just kidding, sis!)
I absolutely love giving someone that perfect gift and seeing his or her reaction upon unwrapping the present and discovering what is inside. The satisfaction and joy I experience is far deeper and more fulfilling than the momentary happiness brought on by a gift from someone else.
I think this is the point of Christmas, actually. As we mature, our motivations and emotions should as well. As a child, I remember lying in bed unable to sleep as I wondered what Santa might have brought and whether he’d tell my mom to buy batteries this year so I wouldn’t have to wait until the day after Christmas to play with my toys. Fast forward to when my children were still young and I stayed up most of the night putting their gifts together (a privilege over which my then father-in-law and I would fight) and I began to see Christmas for what it was: The opportunity to bring joy to someone else (not my father-in-law).
Christmas truly is about giving and not receiving. As we remember the birth of Christ, we must also remember His death. The entire point of His birth was His death.
“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son…”
God loves us so much, He gave His most precious and valuable thing to us. Christ was a gift to a world who desperately needed one. In return, our gift-giving (and receiving) should be an opportunity to reflect on this.
So, as we come closer to Christmas Day, we must ask ourselves what truly motivates us. Is it the giving or the receiving?
If it’s the receiving, you’re doing it wrong.
And don’t forget the batteries.