When I sat down to write this week’s prayer tip I was very quickly distracted by the Christmas shopping list I have been working on. It is always a challenge for me to figure out what gifts to give my family. As a child, I loved making my wish list usually with the Sears toy catalog in front of me.
As a college student, I took a staunch stance, arguing gifts distracted from Jesus’ birth and instead celebrated materialism. Unfortunately, this posture led me to become a Grinch very quickly.
More recently, though, I hopped back on the gifting band-wagon. I love people and celebrating and I have started trying to gift experiences to my loved ones that will hopefully draw us together as a family. All this to say, I imagine my not-so-official gift-giving policy will continue to change over the years as I grow, but this Christmas, it seems to me like gift-giving is something that matters. It’s so much less about the gifts that we give and so much more about giving because we are created in the image of a God who gives. I love what James 1:17 writes: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
So, what are three of your favorite gifts of all time? Why do they stick out to you? Is there a special story about your relationship with that person that made it extra special? Thank God for the stories behind the gifts through prayer.
I love reading Mary’s Song this time of year because it is a good reminder of the reason why we give. At Christmas, the greatest gift came to us in a little baby. Luke 1:46-55 reads, And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
From the time humanity even learned about the possibility of this gift, we have been amazed. This gift has taught us more about our relationship with God that anything ever could. So this Christmas as you prepare to gift others, spend time thanking God in prayer for your favorite things about the gift of Jesus.
Lord God, Help us to find the holy moments in this Advent season, so that we can celebrate Jesus birth in the light of your love and grace. Amen