As I write this, the stores abound with Christmas shoppers—buyers trying to find the perfect gift or just any gift to help in their celebration. While we do not celebrate Christmas, gift giving is something that we need to include in our families.
When was the last time you gave a family member a gift—not for any special time or occasion, but just because you loved him or her? Gifts are nice to receive any time but especially when they are unexpected. They show thoughtfulness and, if they are truly something that person needs or desires, the gift is especially appreciated.
One of the five love languages has to do with gift giving and receiving. "Gifts are visual symbols of love" (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, 1995, p. 75). And again Mr. Chapman writes, "Gifts come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. Some are expensive, and others are free. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift will matter little, unless it is greatly out of line with what you can afford."
He goes on to say, "Gifts may be purchased, found or made. The husband who stops along the roadside and picks his wife a wild flower has found himself an expression of love, unless, of course, his wife is allergic to wild flowers. For the man who can afford it, you can purchase a beautiful card for less than five dollars. For the man who cannot, you can make one free. Get the paper out of the trash can where you work, fold it in the middle, take scissors and cut out a heart, write 'I love you' and sign your name. Gifts need not be expensive" (ibid., p. 76).
While gifts are particularly appreciated by those whose love language is receiving gifts, they are appreciated by everyone as showing concern, care, thoughtfulness and love. The giver who takes out time to shop for or make a gift is showing care for the receiver. To create a gift or spend money to buy a gift shows sacrifice for the one who receives it. The world can definitely use unselfish, thoughtful people and you can be one of them. It just takes being interested in the welfare of others and doing what you can to add to their joy.
After all, God sets us a wonderful example. As James wrote, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17 James 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.
American King James Version×). God also gives us spiritual gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. So, God has put forth the example of gift giving.
Try an experiment. When it is least expected, bring a gift home for a family member. Wrap it or put it in a decorative bag or have a long stem rose put in cellophane wrap and give the gift to an unsuspecting family member. See what reaction you receive. You will be pleasantly surprised.
It is not only the parents who can do this for their children. Nor is it only for spouses to do for one another, but children can do it for each other and for their parents too. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35 Acts 20:35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
American King James Version×). When we give, we show an expression of love to the receiver. And we all need to know that those who are closest to us love us.
I can't wait to hear what that unsuspecting receiver will say and feel after you give him or her an unexpected gift!