I purposely delayed in writing this post because I didn’t want you to think that I am a “scrooge!” Even now, as I am writing this post, there are presents under the Christmas tree in my den. But I think we have lost the real meaning of Christmas! It seems that for many people, Christmas is about receiving, but it really should be about giving. Now, you might be saying; Isn’t all the shopping about giving? Well, in a sense it is, but how many of you know that most people shop and give in the hope that someone else is doing the same thing for them!
But, that is not the real reason for my writing this post. I am writing because of the irony that surrounds Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. By definition, Thanksgiving Day is a day to be thankful. And to be thankful is to express gratitude for what you already have. But isn’t it a bit ironic that the very next day, after a day of being thankful for and content with what we have, we are encouraged to go out and shop and that shopping is motivated by the discontentment of what we don’t have? Think about it! On Thursday, we sit at the table surrounded by family and friends and express thanks for what we have. Then on the very next day, we go out and shop among the maddening crowds, motivated by discontent, to get the things we don’t have!
I would like to suggest that perhaps the Thanksgiving holiday for many people has degenerated into just a day to rest up for Black Friday! And this year, an increasing number of merchants were not content to leave Thursday alone! In order to get a leg-up on sales and take advantage of the holiday, some stores were open Thanksgiving Day! We already have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber-Monday, now we are being introduced to Gray Thursday! Who knows, perhaps there will come a time when we will no longer celebrate Thanksgiving by sitting around the table being thankful with our families but rather spend the day shopping in the mall. I don’t know about you, but I think it is a bit much! The only ones who will be truly thankful for that will be the turkeys! What do you think?
The best gift you can give this Christmas or at any other time cannot be found at a sale on Black Friday, Gray Thursday or even on Cyber Monday! On Christmas morning, you will not find it neatly wrapped in pretty paper and bows beneath the Christmas tree. It cannot be found in the electronics, toys, jewelry, or the hardware departments. In fact you will not find it in any store and it is not for sale at any price! What is the best gift you can give? The best gift you can give is yourself!
The Apostle Paul commended the church at Corinth in II Corinthians 8:5b by saying; “. . .but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” (NASB) Although this church was also in need, they gave beyond what they could afford in Paul’s effort to bring relief to the Jewish saints who were suffering in Jerusalem. The reason Paul gave for their unselfish sacrificial giving was because they first gave themselves to the Lord and then to the Apostles! Once we give ourselves to the Lord, all other giving is secondary.
So, what can you give the person who already has everything? You can give yourself! Give your time and your attention! Many times giving yourself is really not dramatic or expensive. You’d be surprised how valuable and appreciated a smile is to a person who is downcast and hasn’t seen one all day! Or what about even a quick visit to the nursing home to spend a few minutes with an elderly person just to talk or perhaps read a book to them? Even in your own home, you can give the gift of authentic family and love! The truth of the matter is this: Your children really don’t need that X-Box or the Play-Station II you just spent your hard-earned cash for! What they really need is you! They need you to spend some quality time with them to guide them, to teach them, to love them! Jared’s Jewelry might tell you all will be well if you went to Jared’s, and Kay’s Jewelry might tell you that every kiss begins with Kay’s, but actually your wife’s or your significant other’s real happiness begins and ends with you giving yourself! Your husband doesn’t need any more tools; wife, he needs you! Children, your funds may be limited and you might feel bad that you can’t get Mom and Dad an expensive gift. But the best gift you can give your parents is to honor them with your obedience! You should determine to make them proud by growing up into your fullest potential.
Well, the list could go on and on, but I hope you get my point by now. The best gift doesn’t cost you any money, but yet it is more valuable than all the money in the world because it will cost you yourself! The best gift you can give this Christmas or at any other time is the gift of giving yourself to the Lord and to others by the will of God! Be sure to give yourself this Christmas; it’s the gift that keeps on giving!