I'm taking a different approach to gift giving this year.
I'm sure anyone who reads this blog will have already seen the commercials hounding us to get the perfect gift for our loved ones. Many of us are already listening for hints or grasping at straws wondering just what we can get that will make our loved ones happy and joyful. The gifts that will make our parents gasp in surprise and make our spouses giving us that knowing look.
How many of us will phone our relatives and ask, "What do you want for Christmas?" Or even better, "What do you NEED?"
Wait a minute. Is that what gift giving has become? Has giving turned into let-me-ask-you-what-you-want-so-I-can-give-it-to-you?
Yeah, I can see God in heaven thinking about redeeming the world and asking us, "I'm going to save you and show you how much I love you. What gift can I give you to help in this process?"
Um. Money would be nice.
How about a nice car? That would really make me love you, God.
Or how about a really big house?
Or worldly power? If you made me ruler over the world or at least a kingdom, I'd really love you.
Make sure I will never have to worry about food or clothing or money, and I'll be satisfied. That would guarantee you a spot right up there at the top, God.
Can you see the absurdity in such a thing?
Now, I'm not suggesting that anyone is God when it comes to the process of giving. God knows what we need, and He knew we needed a Savior, His Son. He knew how to send Him and where to send Him. He is God after all. But giving isn't necessarily about getting another person what they need. Giving should be driven by our love for that other person. Giving should be driven by the desire to express what we feel and not by what the receiver expects.
Therefore, the perfect gift is a gift that expresses your heartfelt love and appreciation of another person. It can be something great or small. It can be something simple or ornate. But it must come from your heart, not the other person's.
That's why I'm not calling and asking my parents what they want or need for Christmas. That's why I'm not doing the same thing for my in-laws. Or my God-children. Or my grandmother or grandfather. My wife and I are getting a baby sitter and going shopping this Friday evening, and I'm going with no expectations of what to get. If I see something that seems appropriate, I will buy it and give it. It will come from my heart, and it will be the perfect gift.