A brief stop at local super center may leave you thinking: with every year that passes, gift shopping is become more and more expensive. What if there was a present that brought fulfillment without emptying your wallet?
It is the week before Christmas, and Rachel has not shopped for all the gifts yet. Between the new responsibilities at work, the kids’ Winter extra-curricular activities, and life’s usual demands, she has not found the time and energy to head to the store. Rachel has been attentive to her friends and family’s gift wishes, so she feels pretty confident about her shopping list. However, the process feels a bit stale. Though the gift items are exciting, Rachel struggles to experience fulfillment from this endeavor. Maybe there is a present that brings joy and fulfillment Rachel could give to her loved ones and friends.
I do believe that giving presents is an important endeavor, especially during the holiday season. Even when it is not convenient, God instructs us through Scripture to share with one another:
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13.16 English Standard Version)
I also believe that we should look for opportunities to give to those in need. As we read in Scripture:
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none. And anyone who has food should do the same.” (Luke 3.11 New International Version)
However, I do believe that there is a present that may prove even more meaningful than material gifts: to spend quality time with the people around us. Through the birth of Jesus, God has provided us with a rich illustration of this concept. On the very first Christmas, the LORD offered a present to humanity: Himself. As Scripture tells us:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3.16 New International Version)
As the all-powerful being in eternity, God could have presented us with any gift of His choosing. Yet, He came to be with us. As we read in Scripture:
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means God with us”). (Matthew 1.23 New International Version)
Following God’s example, I would like to encourage you to a blessing to someone by spending time with one another. Home is a good place to start. Conflicting work schedules sometimes limit quality interactions within a family. For this holiday season, I want to encourage you to create some opportunities to be with your friends and loved ones. Ideas range from eating at a local restaurant to going camping. Moreover, I want to invite you to look for opportunities to be with the people in your local community. This may take the form of volunteering at the hospital, serving at soup kitchen, or helping at the local community center.
Over time, we may forget the gifts we have either given or received. But, I have come to learn that we do remember the message of love that accompany spending time with friends and loved ones.
May God grant us the blessing to be with our friends, loved ones, and the people other around us this holiday season.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!!!