How much do you spend on Christmas each year?  Are you afraid to total it up?  Does it take most of the next year to pay for it all?  Is this a Christian Christmas or a commercial driven Christmas?  Now don’t take this wrong, I think that giving special gifts to loved ones is a wonderful expression of our love, just as we received that special gift from God on Christmas Day.  But what if we did something different.

Remember those special homemade gifts that you gave your parents when you were in school, or the gifts that your children gave you?  Most parents still have those plaster of Paris hand prints, construction paper cards, clay sculptures, and the like.  When we see these, our hearts go back to the faces of those tender children watching us for our reactions to the gift they worked so hard to make.  We remember the glow of their smile when we gushed with gratitude.  We didn’t gush because we held the creation of the next great artist, sculptor, or poet, but rather because we knew the love that was invested in those simple items.  That love is why we still have these gifts.

Whether you create your own gift or purchase something, take the time to find a gift that expresses the love you hold for that person, Make sure that when it is opened, that the recipient knows that they are loved and that this is an expression of your love.

It may take some re-education for some of us.  We have spent so much of our lives immersed in the commercials that gifts are measured by their financial value rather than by the loving intent of the givers.  The worth of the gift is not in how much was spent, but rather by how much love was invested.  The grandparents and the aunts and uncles who gave us gifts of clothing (I know that as children it really wasn’t what we wanted or hoped for) may have truly and loving selected these items for our real needs, not our commercially inspired wants.

Maybe give a gift of taking over a chore around the house that someone else has, for a day, for a week, for a month.  Make a recording of a song or a book that the person loves, not by some famous reader or singer, but by you!  Compile a slide show of photos on DVD of family and memories spanning a life.  Do something to pamper the person you love.  It does not have to be expensive.  It only has to be genuine and loving.

May your Christmas be a blessing and the New Year be rich in the presence of God.

Shalom,  Darrell