Gifts lacking in meaning are never the best gifts
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It is a little difficult to get excited about the coming New Year. I don’t know whose idea it was to organize the calendar so that the New Year starts right after the start of winter. The weather is bitter; the job market is at its low point and the joy of Christmas is replaced by the anticipation of all the bills showing up the beginning of January. We are also faced with filing income tax papers. Some of you may get a tax return, but keep in mind it was a forced loan to the government and they pay no interest.
Happy New Year has a rather hollow ring when you are unemployed and are doing your income taxes.
You wonder what peoples’ values are when they camp out all night waiting for a store to open on “dumb” Friday and then trample someone to death so they can grab up the Chinese-made stuff ahead of everyone else.
Maybe it helps the economy, but I am frustrated with all the “must give” holidays which have been created for us. I’m sure businesses profit, but it is sad people generally don’t give unless they have an expectation set before them.
What is the real meaning of Christmas? Are we celebrating ourselves? For instance, maybe on our birthday we should thank and celebrate our parents rather than ourselves.
I have always greatly appreciated the gifts, which come unexpectedly, just because someone was thinking of us.
Bob Wiley, God rest his soul, would bring me a homemade mince pie occasionally because he knew I liked them. My daughter-in-law bought me some biker leathers at a yard sale because she thought I needed the protection when riding. My daughter brought me a sweater from Ireland because she knew I like sweaters and Ireland.
I see a bunch of wildflowers and think of my wife. She surprises me with my favorite meal. I admired an instrument cover a lady had made and she gave it to me. That gift will always be special.
The list could go on, but do you get the point? It’s not the money. It’s the thought, the relationship.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I do love chocolates, fruit cake and other stuff. The problem comes when obligatory giving creates a financial hardship. We can also transmit expectations which can put friends or relatives in a really difficult position.
Our expectation for being gifted also seems to have extended to a feeling we deserve government handouts.
There are three things which make a gift extra special. They are unexpected, undeserved and no strings attached.
Maybe by now you have suspected where I am leading. We just celebrated another Christmas (That’s Christ-mass) and our culture has become so focused on presents, parties and too much food that we seemingly have lost sight of the world-changing gift which should be the focal point.
First of all it was unexpected. Who would have believed the answer to evil, greed, hatred and lies would come as a baby? Secondly, it was totally undeserved. People get so wrapped up in immorality, self-gratification and power trips, so if we got what we deserved it would make us toast. The third significant characteristic of that great gift is there were no strings attached. It is yours for just accepting it.
You can call it Holly Day or Winter Solstice or whatever you want to call it. I will celebrate the greatest event in human history which was the miraculous birth of Jesus.
This coming year, I urge you to look for opportunities to gift people in a way which is unexpected, undeserved and no strings attached. You might also add sacrificial to your giving.
For the New Year, I wish you prosperity. Not prosperity of things but prosperity of relationships.
Remember, your flat-screen TV will not be praying for you in times of trouble.
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