Some people like to give gifts, former procrastinators. I’m married to one and I appreciate that. Christmas is a special time for these folks to exercise their bents and bring joy to others. Some of us struggle because we feel we lack ideas or a sense of what’s appropriate. So we put off deciding what to do and end up in a Christmas bind.
As we sat around the Thanksgiving table discussing the general idea of Christmas gifts, there was a definite theme – and a definite dissenting opinion. Most of us vociferously agreed we’d like less stuff, fewer presents. But the gift giver at the head of the table sat silent.
Our desire for less does not scratch my husband’s itch to give. How do we make this work? And how does a hesitant giver move forward?
It helps to think of the receiver more than of the gift or of how giving makes us feel, whether blessed or stressed. All of us – “giving-gifted” or “giving-challenged” – will benefit from approaching gifts from a viewpoint of thoughtfulness.
That way, each of us can give something that will minister to the receiver. Following close to Jesus we can ask Him for insight. We can set aside expectations and be open to whatever He prompts that will minister.
Thoughtfulness might mean a book of stamps, a plant, a series of exercise classes, a favorite pie, a note promising a monthly phone call, a gutter cleaning. Thoughtfulness might mean a surprise or it might mean the receiver knows what’s in the box and gave helpful tips. It might mean everybody pitching in for one thing. It might mean lots of little boxes because somebody just likes to open them.
There’s delight for the giver and receiver when a thoughtful desire to minister serves as guide.
What is one gift you’re planning to give that you’re sure will minister to the recipient?