‘Tis the season of trees and lights. ‘Tis the season of toys and clothes. ‘Tis the season of the 3D HD TV and the latest gaming system. Ornaments and gift cards. You have to wonder…what does any of this have to do with Christ?
The tradition of giving gifts to our family and friends as the wise men gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus isn’t just hard on our wallets, it’s hard on our souls. We become so obsessed with material giving (and, unfortunately, in some case receiving,) that we forget the biggest gift of all that was given that day: our Savior.
Here is a way to teach our families about the Lord and give priceless gifts without spending a penny.
Gather your family. Discuss the gifts that Christ gave us throughout his time on earth. In our household we spend a lot of time talking about the wisdom and learning that Jesus brought. We value this greatly because without it we would not know the way to salvation. But Christ gave us so much that you can talk about whatever your family thinks is most important. The important thing is emphasizing how the gifts Christ gave us weren’t tangible.
Now have everyone commit to giving an intangible gift this year. It can be to a friend. It can be to a family member. It could be to Jesus himself. You can either share your gift ideas or keep them private. For younger children, the ideas can be more simple and will probably need to be more fully discussed. For example, hugs as a gift could be appropriate. As children get older, you can discuss things a little more fully. “I’m going to give commitment to my football coach this year.”
“Okay. And how are you going to give that commitment?”
“I’m going to show up to every practice. I’m going to show up on time.”
“That’s great. And maybe while you’re there you could make sure you’re always playing your hardest, too. That’s an important part of commitment.”
One gift that I, personally, could give this year is the gift of music to my mother. Despite the fact that I get embarrassed every time I play the piano (as my fingers stumble across keys attempting to play tunes they knew long, long ago,) my mother absolutely loves it when I play. Somehow she is deaf to all my faults. I could even practice so that when I did play for her there wouldn’t be so many errors that she would have to overlook.
Other ideas for intangible gifts include giving respect to one’s parents, love to ones neighbor, empathy to anyone around us that is going through a hard time we can relate to, prayers and praise to God, and quality time to our children.
Brynne Mack is a 20-something student, mother, and Pittsburgh native. She has always valued savings and spirituality, but got really serious about it with the start of her young family. You can check out ways to save on things to do, things to cook, and things you have to do anyways on her blog, Femme Frugality.