Christmas is all about a Gift
I have been pondering a lot about gifts this Christmas season. That is the first thing many of us do once Thanksgiving comes to a close – we frantically start looking for gifts to buy our loved ones. We spend the month of December shopping, buying, wrapping, and often stressing.
I personally have been spoiled with gifts for myself and my family this month. We have been receiving gifts for the past 12 days from secret “Jolly Friends.” We have also received an abundance of candy, cookies and fudge from other friends.
It feels good to get gifts because it shows that people love us, care about us, and appreciate us.
I feel good giving gifts too. I have baked, my husband has made white stockings, we have written Christmas cards, printed up family pictures to share, and bought gifts that our kids and friends would enjoy.
I also have been helping the poor quite a bit this season, and I appreciate all the help I have received from my friends in this effort. Knowing that you can help bring the necessities of life to someone is so rewarding, and helps you realize just how blessed you really are.
Have you wondered why we give gifts at Christmas? Up until this year, I have always attributed it to the three wise men who gave the young Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Some of us give gifts because that is what everyone talks about in December. That is what the stores are telling us to do, and that is what kids expect Santa to bring.
Regardless of why we personally choose to give Christmas gifts, we put a lot of effort into making or buying them.
For some of us, we use the time leading up to Christmas as a way to scare our kids into being good. Do we ever tell our kids they will only get their gifts, and Santa will only come if they are good? Do we tell them they have to earn their gifts, that they have to deserve them?
I’ll admit I have often done that in the past, and it usually works, at least for a minute. I saw a quote on Facebook about a month ago, though, that stopped me in my tracks. I wish I could find it again, but in essence it said that we don’t give gifts to our children because they deserve them, but because we love them.
It pierced my heart to read that. Telling my kids they don’t deserve gifts is like telling them they don’t deserve my love.
Anything my kids do wrong, I probably do something else just as wrong. I am not anymore deserving of their love than they are of mine, yet we love each other just the same.
What is even more humbling is that even though I, and you, and everyone, are imperfect and do things that aren’t right, we are always loved by the greatest of them all:
“Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.” – President Thomas S. Monson
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Why do we give gifts at Christmas? It isn’t because of the wise men or Santa. It is because Heavenly Father gave us each His son. Jesus Christ was the first Christmas gift.
We may go through some years when we can’t afford to buy gifts for our children and other loved ones. It is hard and can be sad, but the truest most everlasting joy and cheer comes from remembering that little baby who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger.
That baby grew up to teach a higher law, set an example of love, forgiveness, hope, service, and selflessness, suffer for the sins and pains of all mankind, die a painful death on the cross, and rise again glorious on the third day. Jesus lives, and He is in Heaven with His and our Heavenly Father.
Jesus, like Heavenly Father, loves each of us unconditionally. He smiles when we smile and weeps when we weep. He is always our friend and advocate. He knows how we feel. He wants to bless us. He wants us to return to live with Heavenly Father again. He has provided the way.
We may not always have tangible gifts tied with pretty paper and ribbons, but we will always have the everlasting gift of our Savior. He will bring us everlasting life if we but follow Him.
Merry Christmas to all. May we always keep the spirit of Christ in our lives.