My mother is one of those people who insists that the presence of her children is the only gift she needs. And she’s one of the few people who actually means it. But she’s also someone who finds delight in the smallest things, so giving her gifts becomes a source of joy for her kids.
One of the small things my mom loves the most is birds. She could spend all day nestled on the couch in front of our living room window, watching her winged friends of all shapes and sizes flock to the homemade bird feeder hanging from a tree in our backyard. Unfortunately, a strong gust of wind knocked that poor little feeder to the ground and left it broken beyond repair, so for Christmas a few years ago, my sister and I decided to buy her a new one.
Other than being slightly bigger and sturdier than the DIY one, this new feeder was not overly fancy. But based on our mother’s reaction when she opened it, you would have thought we gave her a miniature bird mansion hand carved from pure crystal. Her surprise and gratitude made the small amount of money my sister and I had spent well worth it.
Our Gift-Loving Hearts Were Made by the Giver of Gifts
The tradition of gift giving is one of the most joyful parts of the Christmas season. There’s something so sweet about stumbling upon a present perfectly designed for its future recipient.
But we can get so swept up in this part of the season that we lose sight of the purpose behind it. In our consumer-driven culture, flashy ads and ONE DAY ONLY! sales blinking brightly on our phone screens easily distract us. Even those who choose to make their gifts or shop local may face the temptation to consume.
Still, gifts are a wonderful way to show love and generosity to people we care about, as well as an opportunity for us to gratefully receive that same love and generosity from others. We were made by a gift-giving God (Matt. 7:11), so we find joy in reflecting this aspect of our Creator.
God gave humans the gift of creation.
He gifted the Israelites the promised land of Canaan.
He gave sinners his Son as a child wrapped in swaddling clothes.
And he gives his saints the fruit of the Spirit.
One day, he will give us new bodies that we can enjoy forever as we reign with him on the new earth.
Every good gift in our lives comes directly from the hands of a God who loves to give. It’s this God that we celebrate every year when Christmas comes around, and it’s this God that we often forget in the chaos of the season.
Fixing Our Gaze on the Giver of Gifts Himself
How can we keep our eyes fixed on our generous and loving Father while we scroll through Amazon Prime deals or pull up to the mall before sunrise? Is there a way to keep the holidays from becoming all about us, even when it’s in the name of blessing those we love?
We can’t do this perfectly, which is why we delight in the gift of the cross, but we can grow in fixing our gaze on our Savior this Christmas season.
- Start and end each day by thanking God for the gifts he’s given you. Include eternal treasures, like the peace we have through Christ, and simple, earthly pleasures, like the peppermint mocha from your local coffee shop or your favorite Christmas carol playing on the radio. When you find yourself on the receiving end of a gift from someone else, say a quiet prayer of thanks in that moment.
- Before you make any gift purchases, take a moment to pause and say a prayer for the person it’s for. Thank God for their presence in your life, lift up any requests you know they have, and pray that this gift would be a sweet reminder to them of how precious they are to both you and to the God who made them. If this person doesn’t know the Lord, pray that he would provide an opportunity for them to hear the gospel and that he would soften their heart to accept the gift of his Son (John 3:16).
- While there’s certainly something special about giving gifts to our loved ones, Christmas is also a wonderful time to seek out ways to bless people we don’t know as well, especially those who may not be able to return the favor. Here are some ideas:
Donate to a local or global organization whose mission you support.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank.
Contribute to the care fund at your church.
Bake a batch of cookies and distribute them to your neighbors.
Leave an anonymous gift on the doorstep of a family or individual who may be struggling a little more this season.
The Father Delights in Giving Gifts to His Children
Whatever you do, ask God to help you do it with a cheerful heart. Let your generosity come from an overflow of thanksgiving to the One who has given you everything you need (and probably much of what you don’t, because he’s just that gracious).
Just as my sister and I delighted in watching our mom open her bird feeder that Christmas morning, our Father delights in seeing his children enjoy both the big and small gifts that he lavishes on us every day. As we prepare to enter this holiday season, may our hearts be filled to the brim with the joy of being known and loved by the best Giver—and Gift— of all.
Meet the Author
Kati Lynn is a writer, doodler, and storyteller who is slowly but surely learning how to live loved by Jesus. She loves to explore the intersection of faith, mental health, and media in her writing. She also loves a good animated movie.