I’m such a list person. I make lists for everything; it gives me a sense of being organized. Hah!…who am I kidding? In reality…lists keep me sane. There’s something spiritual about making lists with little boxes and then checking them off when you accomplish something. No, actually, that might actually fall under the “works” category. Anyway, I find great fulfillment when I can check off my boxes and cross off a list. Now that the holidays are here I’ve started making all sorts of lists; gift lists, Christmas card lists, party lists, cleaning lists, dinner lists, and event lists. I’m in list heaven.
As far as gift lists are concerned, I’ve made my gift giving list, checked it once or twice, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Not only more blessed, but more fun and way cooler. And way more rewarding. I didn’t always think this way, since one of my “love languages” is the receiving of gifts. I like presents….a lot! I’m not ashamed to admit it. It use to make me feel loved, but as I’ve let Christ take center stage in my life the need for affirmation through others gifts has faded. Lately, I’m beginning to enjoy it backwards. When I think of the favorite gift I give this year, and then compare it to the favorite gift I will receive I’m quite sure the one I give will bring me greater joy.
I think giving is one of the things that gives purpose to our lives. A certain carpenter reminds us that it might be really great if we were to carry over some of the giving that we experience this holiday season in His honor, and see how we can incorporate more of that purpose and thought into our daily lives – keeping in mind that giving is an attitude. It doesn’t always have to be a material gift with a price tag on it. It can be the gift of our time or talents, sometimes our grace and forgiveness…even our thoughts and prayers.
If there were any value in the commercialism of Christmas it would be this – that giving far outweighs receiving. It’s spiritual! It gets us thinking about what someone else might like for a change, and it gets us into the selfless giving mode. We spend our money on someone else. We take the time to make something special for them from our heart. We step into someone else’s life. We make someone else important. Whenever we give we are taking part in the very nature of God. It isn’t natural for us as humans to give; rather it is completely God-like. After all, God was the first gift giver. I know…that sounds very Christianese…but I just can’t help it. It’s CHRISTmas for crying out loud!
Being reminded every year of the joy and value of unselfish giving is a great gift in-of-itself to all of us. It’s the heart of the Christmas season that’s well worth carrying on into next year. Our nature tells us that the more we hold onto, the more we will have but its really the opposite that is true. Whether it’s money, or time, or love, or forgiveness…the more we give away the fuller and richer our lives will be. That’s grace for you…getting something wonderful back that you never expected by giving something (and sometimes it’s undeserved) to someone else. Do you know someone who needs something from you that they don’t deserve?
Wouldn’t it be just revolutionary if we could think about the joy that giving brings this Christmas and look for ways we can carry that spirit on into the New Year? Maybe we shouldn’t stop making lists. It might keep us thinking along the lines of what others need…maybe forgiveness. Maybe grace.
Knowing that I love gifts, here’s what I want for Christmas:…more reems of paper! I’m gonna need a lot more of it for all my lists next year! Either that…or maybe an iPad (hint hint).
Happy list making!