Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas is over, and now it's time to clean up the scattered pieces of gift wrap and bits of cardboard from boxes that once held toys. My house is still recovering from the holiday, but I've been taking some time to reflect. Over the last year, I realized that one of my biggest love languages is gifts. (If you haven't read Gary Chapman's classic, The Five Love Languages, you really should! They are: gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, and acts of service.)

I love to give gifts, I think since I've become an adult, even more than getting them. With this knowledge, I really embraced my gift as a gift-giver for Christmas. Even my children who most profited from my talent will acknowledge that I went a bit overboard this year, but I had so much fun (and I'm a smart shopper, so I didn't really spend that much). When it comes to buying gifts, I spend the whole year doing reconnaissance. I pay attention to favorite colors, seasons, hobbies, etc. I use that knowledge to try and find just the perfect gift for each person. The pay-off, for me, is the joy on the recipient's face, sometimes when they received something they were desperately hoping for, sometimes when they received something they hadn't dared hope for, and sometimes when it was something they didn't even know they wanted and are immediately in love with.

The last twenty-four hours have been fun watching Jesse, Doogie, and Mia compete for TV time in order to play the video games I bought each of them. I can't tell you how full my heart is seeing them laugh and smile. It made me start thinking about God and the gifts He gives to us. I know that if I purchased a special gift for someone and they abused it or even worse, never used it at all, I would be hurt. I put time, thought, energy, and money into every gift I find, so if someone rejected my gift, I would be deeply hurt and would reconsider buying gifts for them in the future.

Now consider this about God. Luke 11:10-12 says: For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask[a] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!

God has given us more gifts than we can imagine, some we hoped for, some we only dreamed of, and some we never considered but wouldn't want to live without. But be honest for a moment: are there gifts He's given you that you didn't want? were afraid to use? didn't consider to be gifts? And as much as I love watching my family enjoy my gifts, I imagine God rejoicing when we use the many gifts He's given us.

I am just a woman, a God-fearing, Jesus-loving woman, but a sinful woman. I am completely imperfect, and yet I want to please those I love with special gifts. How much more does our Heavenly Father who is perfect, without sin, and created the universe give us? After all, He was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins just so that we could share an eternity with Him. 

That's really what Christmas is all about. We celebrate by exchanging gifts to honor the gift we all received in Jesus' birth: a Savior who would save us from ourselves. When I think about the gifts I received this year: perfume, a pashmina, journal and pens, wax melter, and more; I will count a Savior among that number.