Sun, May 26, 2024

Faith Friday: Give these gifts

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

I have a confession to make. I am not a shopper. If the retailers across the CSRA (or in cyberspace) depended on my dollars to prosper, their outlook would be bleak. Perhaps, it’s because there is nothing I really need and the fact that my wife is very comfortable using her credit card and navigating the aisles and miles in her various shopping endeavors. My contributions are driving her to the stores she chooses and carrying the bags of merchandise once we have returned home. It’s a balanced approach that works for us – honed by decades of sharing life together.

I have also seen over my lifetime how stuff ever so briefly provides a measure of satisfaction and then so often finds its forever home in drawers, shelves, boxes, garages, and storage units.

Please understand that I DO enjoy giving. I DO think about things that family and friends might enjoy receiving when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas gift-giving. I am just not “wired” to be excited to shop and spend, less and less actually as time goes on. Now that I’ve been upfront with that confession, I think there may be others who can relate to that perspective. There are many more important gifts to give that aren’t connected to dollars and cents. Read on!

God has modeled generosity and giving for us. Romans 12:6 shows us that God, through Christ, has given you and I gifts to be used for his glory. This time of year, especially, can be a great time to bring joy to others and share the hope of Jesus.

If you’re still buying gifts-

The five-gift rule:

  • Something they want. It’s simple, but if you don’t have someone’s wish list, figuring out what to buy them could still be a challenge.
  • Something they need. …
  • Something to wear. …
  • Something to read. …
  • Something they don’t know they want.

Beyond purchasing gifts, I recommend giving these significant and meaningful gifts this Christmas.

  • Your time. That’s a personal gift no one else can provide. Think of a friend or family member you haven’t connected with for a while. Reach out and get together for a meal, coffee, or a walk. As I type these words, I immediately think of my older sister who is 900+ miles away in an assisted living facility. When I can visit her, I am reminded of how important those moments really are.
  • Encouragement. How can you encourage those you love? Call? Text? Email? A handwritten letter or card? Go ahead and choose to encourage this Christmas.
  • Hugs. Free and needed by everyone!

  • Smiles. Use every opportunity to share a smile and brighten someone’s day. You’ll feel better too!
  • Kindness. There is plenty of selfishness, grumpiness, and nastiness around us. You don’t have to choose to take part in any of that foolishness. Kindness will positively impact others. It too has a way of gaining traction and spreading to others. Go on, be an influencer and trendsetter. Be kind!
  • Give the gift of Forgiveness. This may be the most important gift you can give.

Read that again. Forgiveness? I am flabbergasted by the number of people I interact with that have a strained or severed relationship with a friend or family member. To the point where months, or even years have passed with no communication between them. Nelson Mandela said, “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Forgiveness is not easy, but it’s a necessary part of a healthy life. Unforgiveness takes a toll on us physically, emotionally, and mentally. Plus, if you don’t forgive someone, it’s like handing them a key and giving them the power to lock you in an invisible prison cell. You are choosing to give that person the ability to keep you from moving forward with your life. Unforgiveness keeps you stuck. It takes up precious space in your head and heart.

Please don’t go another day, even another moment, without choosing to forgive. You can forgive even without the other person’s permission. Consciously decide to let it go- whatever it is. Life is much too short to hold on to a painful word or action you’ve experienced. Let it go. If you need to tell someone you’re sorry and ask for forgiveness-do it!  With God’s help, you can!

John 20:23

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.”

Ephesians 4:32

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13

“Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.”

Clearly, forgiveness is essential because even while he was nailed to the cross, Jesus offered forgiveness to those who had abused him and sentenced him to an excruciatingly painful death.

Luke 23:34

“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing.”

You can choose to make this Christmas different and much more meaningful when you share these gifts. Yes, they will take some effort on your part. But the impact is powerful and will positively impact those you are in a relationship with and lighten your load as well.

Gift-giving is an awesome part of this time of year. Just be sure to give the gifts that really matter. (One more meaningful gift you can easily give is returning your shopping cart when you’re finished with it. :-))

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