Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gifts vs. Presents

It has been a couple weeks since I posted. I have been busy with getting things ready for Christmas. There just seems to be so much to do at this time of year. This year for Christmas, I wanted to focus more on giving gifts rather than presents. Think about what that means. Anyone can give a present and many people think that is enough. They think that you can buy or spend enough to make up for things or win someone's friendship. While it might work initially, it isn't something that is lasting. I think about perhaps the man who cheats on his wife or is abusive and goes out and buys her a new diamond ring, a huge bouquet of flowers, or a new car. In giving the present, this person is wanting something in return. They want the bad deed forgotten, your friendship/loyalty bought, or forgiveness. They think that expensive things can fix these kinds of things. That you are somehow indebted to them by accepting it. A gift is different. It is something that comes from the heart. It is thought out and given with all the love intended. The person giving the gift doesn't expect anything in return. It has required more thought for me and perhaps a little more stress, but so far it has been worth it. I have always loved giving gifts, even more than receiving them. I love when someone is touched by the thought that went into my gifts. I feel it is a way for me to show my love for them and not just express it. I hope that those more thought out gifts will be ones that my loved ones will enjoy this year. It reminds me of the story, "The Gift of the Magi" and how a couple sacrifice their greatest treasures to buy each other gifts. The man sells his watch to buy beautiful combs for his wife's beautiful long hair. The wife sells her hair to buy a chain for the man's watch, a family heirloom. They both sacrifice for each other. The story ends with this wonderful quote:

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

We all have been given a wonderful gift and that is our Savior and the true reason we celebrate this season. So while I sometimes get caught up in the presents, the parties, the shopping, and the like, I need to remind myself of the greatest gift ever received. My Savior Jesus Christ, his love, his forgiveness, and his sacrifice. I am truly grateful for him and his love for me. My favorite Christmas song for many years now has been, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and it is because of one line in the song. In verse 2, it says "light and life to all he brings, Ris'n with healing in his wings". My Savior has always brought me light even when my heart was drowning in darkness. He has pulled me up into the light and healed my pain. It has been the greatest gift I have ever been given. It wasn't just a present given to those who are worthy and good, but it was a gift to all. "Light and Life to ALL he brings". I hope not just this Christmas I can focus more on gift giving rather than present giving and can always remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!

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