Here we are again. That time of the year, when we are reminded to acknowledge our blessings, encouraged to be thankful and we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. A time where slowing down would be helpful to our ability to reflect, contemplate and enjoy. Instead, many will get caught up in the self-imposed stress of serving the perfect meal, spread out on the perfect Pinterest worthy table. The pressure will build for weeks, as the quest for finding the perfect gift, is a perceived race against the calendar. Retailers will lure us in and tug at our hearts with their deals, their great ideas and they’ll sprinkle in some sappy sentiment. A clear message is sent – show others that you value them by impressing them with this item. Never mind that they don’t need it or even want it. Resources are spent without thought of the consequences to come. In about thirty days, reality and depression sets in. Either having spent too much savings or deep in debt, the next months will be labored with digging out of the hole.
Is it the table setting, the meal or even the gift what we remember, or is it the feeling? The feeling is what brings the joy and it comes from the human relationship. It comes from knowing that someone cared enough for you to show that they love you. This doesn’t have to come through spending money. Thought, effort and time is what it takes to make people feel special and loved. Demonstrating that we value other human beings can come in many forms. I have compiled a brief list that offers ideas that will hopefully push you out of the norm.
>Visit and spend time with someone that enjoys your presence.
>Spend time catching up on the telephone.
> Reach into the life of someone who is lonely, home-bound or isolated.
>Write or speak sincere words of encouragement.
>If you’ve heard someone mention a trinket or an act of service that they would enjoy, provide it if you can.
>Cook something for someone that you know they’ll enjoy.
>Be generous with a smile or a kind word.
>Invite others to share a meal.
>Tell someone what they mean to you or what you admire about them.
I adore this season. I love reflecting on what God has done for me during the past year. I love thinking about the people in my life, or the ones that are no longer in my life but live in my heart. I love the smell of a roasting turkey and baking pie. I love watching the twinkling lights. I do not like being manipulated into purchasing items and I do not like that some people are sad and lonely during this season. A true gift is not about the money spent or just merely getting that person checked off of your list. A gift is a representation of thoughtfulness. It says that I think about you and you are important to me and I value your presence in my life. It says that I have been paying attention to you and have noticed what makes your heart sing.
If you truly enjoy picking out and purchasing the perfect gift, then do it and have fun. You are expressing real love and value of another human being by doing so. If this is not you, don’t get caught up in the manufactured pressures of this season. Find other ways to express your appreciation for others and enjoy the season and the precious people that are part of your life.