Christmas; It’s All About The Gifts

As a young boy I use to search the house with my brother looking for gifts that Santa might have pre-positioned there. My mother usually did a terrible job of hiding things and we ended up having to pretend to be surprised on Christmas morning. As children, receiving gifts was a big part of Christmas but we also learned the meaning of Christmas. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, who was placed here to redeem us. He eventually gave his life so that we could be saved.

His life was a gift to us and it is the most significant gift ever given.

As I grew older I never really felt a need for presents. I do not anxiously await a gift and could look at a wrapped box every day and not give it a second thought. I get much more out of giving gifts. My wife and I enjoy giving food to the needy, dropping anonymous gifts off at different places and giving gifts to organizations like Toys for Tots. We give year round but for some reason it seems more rewarding when we give at Christmas.

Yes, to us Christmas is about giving to others. I would like to share several other stories of giving that have meant something to me.

Several years ago my Sister-in-law asked for organizations that her office could give to for Christmas. All the workers decided that instead of drawing names and giving a $10 gift that they would pool the money and use it for a Christmas gift for someone less fortunate. I put them in touch with Soldier’s Angels. The office gave all of the collections to a soldier who had been severely wounded and his family.

After Christmas her office received a photo of the family and a special thanks. Knowing that they had made a difference and receiving that thank you was the best Christmas gift they could have received. I think that her office still does something like this each year. Is there a better tradition to start than one of giving?

Gift giving is not something that is limited to those who believe that Jesus was God’s son or even to those who celebrate the season. I worked at a hospital some years ago and one of the nurse’s in hospital education was Jewish. When the Christmas work schedule came out she would offer to work for any nurse who would rather be at home to celebrate Christmas. This was a gift to her Christian co-workers on a holiday that she did not celebrate. She could have easily taken the day off and gotten paid but she decided to give a gift to another. She is an exceptional nurse and I always enjoyed working with her but I really appreciated her selflessness at Christmas.

I remember the same thing happening when I was in the Army. Several of the single soldiers (with no children) would offer to switch duty so that a soldier with children could be home with his kids on Christmas morning.

I also know a guy who does not earn a lot of money. He pays his bills and gets along but he lives paycheck to paycheck. One time someone gave him a scratch off lottery ticket for his birthday and he won about seven dollars. He cashed it at the store so he would have a little extra cash for the week and as he was leaving the store he saw a destitute woman begging for money to buy food. He gave her the winnings and commented that she looked like she could use it more than he could. A random act of kindness does not have to happen at Christmas.

Christmas is all about the gifts but it is about the gifts we give to others and not just our loved ones. It is easy to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas because people get caught up in the idea that they need to buy the greatest gift in order to be loved or to keep up with neighbors. But the true spirit of Christmas is when we give something, no matter what the value, to someone we either do not know or do not have a close relationship with. It is our chance to demonstrate the kindness and to redeem ourselves. It is a chance to do something without any expectation of something in return.

The value of the gift is not important because it truly is the thought that counts (though I don’t recommend telling your wife you thought about buying her the diamond). The gift could be your time donated to visit with the elderly or to help feed the homeless.

Here is an idea for Christmas. While you are out shopping and you stop to get a coffee (or other beverage) pay for the coffee (or beverage) for the person behind you in line. If you really want to keep the spirit, do this several times throughout the year.

Yep, Christmas is all about the gifts…

Big Dog

Gunline

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7 Responses to “Christmas; It’s All About The Gifts”

  1. The Carnival of Christmas, 2009: GLORIA!…

    Thank you for coming by this year’s Carnival of Christmas. It’s a little quieter than it was last year, but there are is a lot here to encourage and bless you for this most holy day. I want to give my deepest thanks to all the contributors; it wouldn…

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks Big Dog. You have the true spirit of Christmas. People fight over gifts in stores and who can outdo who. Maybe this lull in the economy has been good for everyone, as it will give us time to discover what are the worthwhile things in life and not what we thought they were. Merry Christmas to all.

  3. A long time ago, in a Methodist Church in Helena, Montana, a young man heard a spoken version of Three Ships. The young lady did not sing it but recited it. As with a poem. I still think about it to this day. It was about forty-four years ago. It has stayed with me. And yet I cannot remember the words. But would any hold me as a bad person for that minor thing.
    Thanks Big Dog, for the unique perspective. And may the Almighty keep you and yours well and safe in the New Year.

  4. Angel says:

    I’ll take a gift..lol..SWEET HOLIDAYS my friend!..hugssss! :)

  5. As one who has been on the receiving end of gifts even since Mr. AOW’s stroke in September, I can vouch for the gratitude we feel when others think of us.

    Excellent post.

    • Blake says:

      I am sorry to hear of your past misfortune- I know how hard it can be, but there will be better times. I pray for your continued recovery, and hope that the New Year brings a regeneration of health and happiness.
      Godspeed.