Here we are yet again. Another Christmas season has dawned, and thus begins our mad scramble to find the perfect gift for everyone we love. The joy and hope advertised in Christmassy retail ads is second only to the angst we experience trying to capture these two virtues in a vain consumeristic experience.
Retailers spend millions of dollars to convince us that they are selling joy and hope. But really they’re just selling phones and cars and other stuff of future junk drawers and junk yards.
Where is the joy and hope in that?
In scripture we see that joy and hope don’t come covered in shiny, overpriced paper and bows, rather they are always wrapped in authentic personal attention, service to others and sacrificial giving.
When Jesus spots Zacchaeus perched in a tree and calls for him to come down so they could share a meal together, Zacchaeus “hurried and came down and received him joyfully.” (Luke 19:6)
Paul doesn’t just tell Timothy that Jesus brings hope, he says the Jesus is our hope. (1 Timothy 1:1) It doesn’t get much more personal that that.
That’s the Christmas that jewelers and tech companies and big box stores want us to ignore. The Christmas that gets personal and meets the true needs of the people we love while keeping us free from the muck of materialism.
Christmas isn’t about gift-giving, it’s about self-giving. That’s what God did for us. He gave us himself.
So why do we fall into the trap of spending money on impersonal commodities instead of spending ourselves on personal connection?
There is nothing inherently wrong with Christmas shopping or gift-giving. But these things are poor substitutes for the personal self-giving that I believe God calls us to give each other in light of his most personal gift to us—his son Jesus.
So this year, I’m challenging you and me to think outside of boxes and bows and make plans to bless our people, or even some strangers, with these five good and perfect gifts from above. The best part? They won’t bankrupt you because you already have them.
I’m not calling for the abolishment of Christmas gift giving as we know it. I’m just saying don’t forget to give the good stuff first. The stuff that will last. The stuff that requires a little personal attention, a little serving instead of being served, and a little sacrifice even when it’s inconvenient. Open yourself up to the wild possibilities of what God could do in and through your life this Christmas by simply giving away few things you already have.
Cheers to regifting, y’all!