Christmas is a time of giving and receiving, so it’s not unusual during this season that our focus is on Christmas presents. Recently, I was on a plane flying to Atlanta. On this trip I was able to look out the window and see all of the cities, towns and country sides below. As I did, I found myself wondering, “if I could give all of these people something for Christmas, what would it be?” I realized that what I would want to give them is not material presents but rather, the presence of Christ—the reason we celebrate the season. As I pondered that idea, there were several thoughts that came to my mind on how we could all embody His presence at Christmas.
I hope that in revealing these thoughts, you would be encouraged to give this kind of gift that is not wrapped in paper but in love. Giving the presence of Christ to someone doesn’t cost money, but it may cost energy, effort, vulnerability and time. But, in the end, I think you’ll find it’s worth it.
One idea is that you would show someone a soft heart that in the past has been stony. Maybe your heart was hardened because of a rough relationship or an unkind word or deed. You decided right then and there that you weren’t going to be vulnerable again. Therefore, your heart has been stony towards someone who could really use love from you. Christ came to bring love where there was hate. I would love for you to consider replacing that stony part of your heart with a soft heart.
A second idea is to consider giving someone an apology. Maybe it’s someone who doesn’t deserve it or didn’t ask for it or you’re not really sure which of you in the relationship is at fault, but you know something isn’t right. What if, this Christmas, you simply put yourself in a place of surrender and tell that person, “I’m sorry?” Certainly this would not apply in any situation where someone has clearly been a victim. This is more about being unwilling to change in an area of your life, and by not changing, you are hurting someone. Christ came to show forgiveness where there was stubbornness. Consider giving the gift of change.
The last idea is to give someone the freedom to share what they would like to and feel as though someone has listened. Give someone the freedom to talk, to express how they feel without retribution or defensiveness. You might be shocked at what kind of a gift someone would consider that in their life. Consider giving freedom to the person in your life who feels oppressed.
These are simple gift ideas, but as I flew over part of our country and saw the surrounding municipalities below, I wondered what would happen if these were the kind of Christmas gifts that prevailed in our society. I thought about how much healing might occur, how many people might start to live with hope, how many marriages might last a lifetime and how many families might stay intact. I thought about the difference we could make in the lives of those we love if we focused on His presence instead of presents this Christmas.
I encourage you to consider giving Christ’s presence as a loving and thoughtful gift to someone this year. If you do, I know it will help you win more often at home.