Don’t you love giving the perfect gift! You know, the kind that causes a lot of giggles, smiles and maybe a tear or two? Finding that perfect gift and having it be a surprise adds to the delight of the giver. Unfortunately, most of the gifts I give are:
* a complete surprise, but then returned
* greatly appreciated, but no surprise
We have begun a new tradition for our family of doing the “modified White Elephant” gift. This is taking the old ‘White Elephant’ idea that usually was a gag gift designed to embarrass the gift receiver, but the new twist is that it is something good – no gags! There is a price limit for each gift purchased and at the Christmas gift exchange, you pick a package when it is your turn, or you trade for something someone else has already opened. [Note: try to be the last person so you get the last pick of the gifts]. I learned the lesson – buy something you want that you think no one else would want, and then you probably will get to keep your own gift. May not be much of the Christmas spirit, but you leave happy!
Wouldn’t it be great to give a gift that always delights the receiver, never breaks the giver – and when the gift is given, both receive the benefit. When it comes to spiritual giving, we are always stronger, richer and more blessed when we give.
Paul tells us about spiritual gifts and lists all kinds of special abilities that are God-given: teaching, healing and knowledge. He immediately follows this lesson with a challenge to use these gifts in a “more excellent way.” If all of these gifts can give us the ability to do incredible things and we do it for ourselves, it will really in the end amount to nothing, but if we commit to give the greatest gift, it will last forever. It is the gift of LOVE – agape! Now that is not just emotion, it is motion that will cause a commotion . Wrap this up and watch the gift that keeps on giving.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 “Love is”:
patient – Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
kind – do unto others.
not jealous – finds joy in others success.
not arrogant – treats all people with respect.
not act offensive – appropriate behavior for each setting.
not seek its own way – aware of the needs of others.
not provoke – careful not to irritate.
not hold a grudge – to whom much grace has been given.
not enjoy inappropriate things – seeks the higher road.
committed to the truth – Is it true, does it need to be said?
bears all things – Carry your own load.
believes all things – Sees the best rather than suspect the worse.
hopes all things – forward thinking [no what ifs].
endures all things – inner strength developed through life’s difficulties.
… the gift of LOVE – Agape, will never fail.
What a great gift to give –
and you are almost guaranteed to have them return it to you!
Dr. Bill Heston
Howard Payne University
Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.