I need to confess to you all that November and December stress me out. It goes beyond the professional demands of this busy time and my annoyance at the phenomenon known as the “Christmas Creep”. I think part it is a result of all those extra holiday expectations. And I am guessing I am not the only one.
One of these expectations is gift giving. I like giving gifts, but when it feels right. Finding gifts for everyone just adds extra pressure. There is the person who is hard to buy for, the worry that you forgot someone, budgeting for it all, the obligatory people you have to give to, and the pressure to buy everywhere. Just to name a few things.
During the Advent and Christmas Seasons, I think we should focus on gifts, but not the ones that we can buy. Because,“ The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world”(1 John 4:4b.) The cause for our anticipation and our celebration at Christmas, is the gift of God becoming incarnate as Jesus Christ. God like us and God for us. As it says in Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
We have been given the best gift in the world in Jesus. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” This saving love of God, assures that nothing that we have done or have failed to do can separate us from the love of God. We have been saved and have received salvation. And as a result of God’s endless mercy, we are set free from constantly having to worry about ourselves and our own achievement. Our actions do not affect God’s love for us, but our actions can make the difference to our neighbors that God also deeply loves.
I believe that the best gifts that we can give this season are each other. We can spend those precious moments, not stressing, but doing things with those we love. We can spend our time giving to our community and our neighbors in need bringing them joy. We can spend our time on experiences and sharing our gifts and talents with the others. Or using our time to recharge.
It has been a rough year. May be we can spend our time this season not spending for obligations sake, but by spending and giving in order to create simple joy in our communities and our lives. Afterall, we have already been given the best gift out there. Let’s enjoy it this season and remember it with one another.