December 22, 2008
A Gift That Costs You Something
Believe it or not, Christmas is a stressful season. The Franklin Covey Company does an annual survey regarding the stressors associated with the holiday season. For several years in a row, the number one stressor is the pressure to find money for gifts. The number two stressor is the dilemma of what to buy for whom. Gift giving seems to be at the core of our angst.
We not only stress over the money issue, we also make strange choices about our gifts. I read that Americans spend over $38 billion dollars on pet gifts alone! And another $88 billion is spent on gift cards. We seem to be running out of creativity!
When we think about Christmas gifts, our minds naturally go to the manger scene and we consider the gifts of the Magi. There were three gifts (no evidence that there were only three Magi) and each of the gifts were costly. Gold was the “money” of the day, but Frankincense and Myrrh would have been used as exchange mediums as well. All three were special gifts of great value.
Giving gifts of great value ought to be our goal. And a biblical example for us comes out of II Samuel. It is the end of David’s life. He has made a tragic mistake and ordered a census to be taken of his army. He no doubt was reflecting on the size and strength of his forces. His focus was on his achievements, not what God had and would do on his behalf. So, God punishes David by sending a plague that killed at least 70,000 men. David responds in distress and deep humility and wants to build an alter to the Lord and offer sacrifices of repentance.
David approaches Araunah, the Jebusite who owned a threshing floor upon what is now the temple mount in Jerusalem. Araunah offers to give David the land, but in true humility, David declares, “NO, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing” (II Samuel 24: 24).
“I won’t give something that cost me nothing…” Here is our example for gift giving this year. Let’s focus on giving gifts that cost us something. And, I am not talking about financially expensive gifts. I am talking about insightful, well thought out gifts that reveal a gentle heart of appreciation. Gifts that cost us something!
Some of us could give the gift of forgiveness this season. Is there someone in your family that has offended you? You might consider giving a gift of true forgiveness. For some of us, a gift of patience would cost us a great deal. For others, a gift of kindness might have a huge “price tag” associated with it.
The gifts from the Magi cost them a great deal. David refused to give gifts of sacrifices that did not cost him something. And of course, Christ was born with the singular focus of giving us the gift of eternal salvation, a gift that cost Him everything.
What gift of great value will you give this year?
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools