This is the tenth article in the series ‘10 Things to Do with Your Family This Christmas Season.’
We love to give gifts to each other because we are created in the image of our heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts to his children! Whether it is an expression of appreciation for a job well done or just to show gratitude for someone as a friend, the tradition of giving gifts extends throughout history. It is an expression of love that is uniquely rewarding because we vicariously experience the joy of the receiver!
Many assume the tradition of gift giving at Christmas originated because we wanted to carry on the example of the wise men or represent the gift of Jesus from Heaven. While these are worthy reminders of the season and the reason we celebrate, history reminds us that gift giving was not invented for Christmas. Men have exchanged gifts on feast days since the earliest records. Remember Jacob’s entourage of gifts to Esau! We give gifts on birthdays and feast days to express care and appreciation for each other.
The characteristic Victorian Christmas gift was not a doll house or a pile of action figures and remote control vehicles but a simple orange. True, back then oranges were much more precious than they are today because they were scarce! But we chose the picture above to illustrate just how simple Christmas gift giving can be and how joy and gratitude can make even the simplest gift the most beautiful! There is nothing wrong with choosing to give your child his annual toy stipend on Christmas. But we would submit to you that gift giving at Christmas time does not have to be an incredible expense.
Give as you are able throughout the year to express care for your loved ones! Encourage your children to practice giving. Even simple things like a special pencil or a clay animal made out of sculpey, a piece of leather painted and sewn on to a key chain can be the most prized gifts and precious reminders of someone’s love and care.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)