by Grant Porteous, LMSW
Hard to believe – it’s almost Christmas! Holiday cheer, trees and decorations, Christmas parties, gifts… ah, yes, the stress, anxiety, and consternation that goes along with looking for just the right presents for the people we love.
I know I’ve been there. Back when I was first married, I recall racing through the mall one Christmas eve trying to find anything for my new bride that didn’t have a practical use. You know, something special, something she might really want… I was looking for a present, something to wrap, but what I really wanted to give her was a gift that would touch her heart.
Michelle Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting and a strong advocate for marriage, points out that real ‘giving’ means giving your partner something that he or she wants. Not what you think they need, not what you think they should want, but something they want that only you can give. Now, that’s not a present – that’s a gift.
It sounds simple, right? But if your spouse or kids need you to simply listen, do you tell them what to think or do, give detailed instructions on ‘how to fix it’ or, heaven forbid, preach instead? If someone in your life needs the gift of time are you available? Has someone you love earned your trust, but in return still you give doubt, control, anger, or stony silence instead? Or, what about forgiveness? Do you offer it freely?
Anyone can give a present, but the people we love want most of all what only we can give – the gift of our hearts. So this Christmas, while you’re stressing about what to put under the tree, consider what the people you love and care for really want from you, and be as generous as you know how to be. This, better than almost anything else, reflects the heart of God and the way he loves giving good gifts to us.