I’m not much of a gift-giver. I’m more of an “acts of service” kind of gal, but those are hard to wrap and set under a tree so when this time of year rolls around I arm myself with a wish list from each family member and a pot of strong coffee and then Amazon Prime and I sit down to finish the task of Christmas shopping as quickly as we possibly can. If everyone gets something off of their list and I still have some money in my bank account at the end of two hours, I am feeling pretty good about myself (albeit ready for a nap).
Contrast that with my son who has spent the last 6 weeks wrapping up anything and everything from around the house that he can get his hands on. He’s on a mission to give the perfect gift to each and every person he cares about.
Just a few of these “perfect gifts” that have already been set by our chimney with care:
- His cousin who loves the movie Frozen will be receiving a re-gifted Olaf book from his bookshelf.
- His sister, who has been complaining of chapped lips, will find a half used Chapstick under the tree. (He found that in the bottom of the junk drawer.)
- His dad, with whom he loves to play sword fight, will be unwrapping a “sword” that was fashioned out of the recycling bin by attaching a plastic bottle to an empty paper towel tube with duct tape.
- Perhaps his most interesting gift so far is the “goldfish” he made by gluing goldfish crackers onto a bottle cap and giving it a face. This treasure will be going to our neighbor in memory of her pet goldfish that died this year.
On one level, I can understand his predicament. Gift giving can be a challenge for a six-year-old with a limited piggy bank. As the weeks of dumpster diving have dragged on, however, and my wrapping paper supply has become depleted, I must admit to growing a bit tired of keeping track of all the family members whose gifts I have felt will need to be accompanied by explanation/apology. Why can’t he just be happy with the gifts off of our family member’s wish lists that Amazon and I efficiently and frugally purchased and wrapped weeks ago? After all, those were good gifts that people actually asked for!
When I stop and take a step back, however, I realize something very short-sighted about my views on gift giving. Perhaps my son and his re-gifted, half-used, made from junk presents are actually much closer to the perfect gift than anything that will arrive on my doorstep via guaranteed two-day shipping.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The gift of Jesus, God’s own Son, was given to us because of God’s great love for the world. He was given to us not because we asked for Him, but because we so desperately needed Him. That gift that was given to the world 2000 years ago in Bethlehem and the reason we give gifts to one another each December, was the perfect gift not because of who received the gift but because of who gave it. Our perfect God sent his perfect Son so that we could know perfect love now and forever. The perfect gift…and exactly what we needed.
My guess is that when it comes to holiday gift giving, many of us would consider re-gifting or re-purposing tacky or thoughtless. This year, however, watching my son wrap up package after package has reminded me of something important. When it comes down to it, we are all just re-gifting. Every gift given in love and out of gratitude for the gift of Jesus is ultimately a re-gifting of the perfect gift that was first given to us, and it’s a gift that will keep on giving forever.