Giving is the Gift
As Christmas is just around the corner, I find myself reminiscing about those best Christmases from the past, the earliest being my 5th Christmas. I remember it sparsely as it has been many, many, MANY years ago, but I remember two things clearly. The first is the Lionel train set that was underneath the tree. My memory of that is very clear, even down to the corner of the room where the Christmas tree was setting in our home in Michigan. My second memory of that Christmas is all three of us children being lined up to take a spoonful of castor oil before we went to my Aunt’s house. One thing I don’t remember is why we had to ingest that awful stuff. I suppose it was viewed by my mother as being good for us, but perhaps it was to protect us from my Aunt’s cooking. Either way, it was done with fingers closing our noses. I remember that being when I was 5 years old because the following month we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a memorable time in my life. I don’t remember how old I was when I got the erector set for Christmas, nor do I remember how old I was when the chemistry set was under the tree, but I remember building endless things with the erector set and conducting many experiments with the chemistry set.
As I have grown older the memorable Christmases have become not about things received, but of things given, like the year I gave my
son-in-law golf clubs for Christmas. I remember giving him those clubs every time we go golfing and he hits the ball straighter, farther, and more accurately than I. Not to mention, he always has a better score. Think about this for a moment. The major difference between giving and receiving is the fact that giving costs us something while receiving doesn’t. Just like with my son in law. I always tease him about me buying his clubs for him only to have him show me up. Those clubs cost him nothing but they cost me not just the initial investment, but also continuing humiliation when we golf together! No, that’s not the case. In reality I gave him those clubs and I submit to always being beaten because I love my son-in-law. I enjoy seeing him do what he enjoys doing. That’s the difference between giving and receiving. Receiving is enjoying the blessing ourselves while giving enjoys seeing others blessed.
In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul speaks about when we are children we act like children and think like children, but in growing up and putting away childish things, we think and act differently. Paul was speaking of the need to grow up spiritually, and the transition from Christmas being about receiving to being about giving is that type of maturity. We all like to receive gifts, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but we are living in a culture that is increasingly all about self-entitlement and I can assure you there is little reward in the end. Nothing there can ever compare to the blessing I have in golfing with my son-in-law, and now seeing my granddaughter being a budding golfer on her high school team. Where is the cost to me? Where is the humiliation to me? It is all erased by the joy of giving! Friends, those chemicals in that chemistry set have long since been used up, and the parts and pieces of that erector set have long since been lost. Even the Lionel train set, save for this purpose, has long since been forgotten. But the blessing received by a gift given continues to be mine! I urge you not to miss such a blessing this season….the blessing of giving rather than receiving.