I am a terrible gift-receiver.
Starting in October, multiple times, Rebecca asks me what I want for Christmas. I alternate between “I don’t know” and some treacly sentiment like “the love of my family is present enough.” And while that is true, she wants to get me something that can be wrapped up. A symbol, a token, a gift – something to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our love for each other, the closing of the year. And in spite of my inability to provide any inspiration, she always gets me something lovely and practical and meaningful.
Am I afraid to admit that I want things? Am I concerned about appearing greedy or selfish? Am I worried about money? Do I feel guilt because I am also a terrible gift-buyer, and welcome any and all blatant hints about what to get for my loved ones?
The Bible says a lot about giving in a charitable sense, but not much about giving or receiving presents. But as I went searching, I was reminded that Jesus himself was a present, given to me and to us all. A gift from God. My ability to receive that gift with humility and gratitude should be reflected in how I receive gifts from others, for those gifts are given with love, just as God gave us Jesus with love. Each gift, no matter how big or small, practical or frivolous – each gift is a symbol of the greatest gift of all.
I hope that each of you are able to give and receive gifts with love, joy, and the reminder of Jesus’ miraculous birth – and that you are able to share that love and joy with friends, families, and communities near and far.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.