Knowing most retail stores began priming the pump the day after Halloween, you are no doubt waist-deep in piles of plans for your Christmas gift giving. Perhaps you’ve started preliminary discussions about good gifts for immediate and extended family- maybe even for co-workers, friends, or kids’ teachers.
Choosing the correct gift is difficult because a gift sends a certain message from the giver. Finding the perfect gift to display appreciation and affection can be vexing – especially on a limited budget.
My kids for example, start big. My wife and I first sift through all written and verbal requests. Next, we consult to manage our talking points to each child in order to temper expectations.
We typically start this process late October/early November. An iPad Mini quickly becomes a “pre-owned” video game. A golf cart for neighborhood cruising gets down-graded to a bigger bike. You get the drift.
No matter your political persuasion, it’s difficult not to appreciate President Ronald Reagan’s popularity. After his death in 2004, masses of people gathered in long lines just to circle his casket while it lay in state for nearly three days in the Capitol Rotunda. Many waited for hours in traffic even before joining the line. Some argue his death was a timely gift as it provided Americans respite from growing political tensions and a message of hope amidst increasing world threats. Remembering his presidency forced us to remember that victory and peace can still come out of dark times.
But what was perhaps Reagan’s greatest gift was shared at the private funeral in California by his adopted son Mike Reagan. You can watch his five minute thank you to “Dad” here.
At the funeral, Mike recalled some tender moments but quickly segued to his bigger point. He described a conversation that took place on Air Force One late in the Reagan presidency when his dad shared his faith in Christ.
Mike obviously took the conversation to heart. He said that when his dad closed his eyes for the last time, he immediately recalled that conversation and suddenly realized the greatest gift his father had ever given to him – the gift of assurance that they would be together again through a common faith in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ask yourself, is there truly any better gift than the certainty of seeing your father (family, friends, loved ones) again after they’ve died?
As you consider gifts this Christmas, consider giving faith in Christ. Your family, your friends, your son(s) may not appreciate it now, but one day will. Remember, a gift sends a message from the giver. What better gift than faith in Jesus. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18 NIV) We cannot give this gift had Christ not given it first. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19.) After all, it is Christ who gives victory and peace in dark times.
Give gifts this Christmas, but be sure and pass along Christ’s perfect gift – Himself. What a perfect message from the “giver of every good and perfect gift.” (James 1:17.) One day it will be the only gift that ever mattered – and it will never disappoint.
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