This thought visited me every year and I’d always assumed it was either one of two reasons, or both:
One, malls and stores display inviting wares on sale that cover the gamut of needs and wants of everyone you know; two, it feels like people—including those you hardly say “hello” to all through the year—seem to expect it.
But I happen to be reading Charles R. Swindoll’s “Grace Awakening” (a present from a balikbayan friend). In one chapter, the author expounds on the itch to give on Christmas so powerfully, I re-processed my thought.
Looking back, I had not been obligated at all. I gave as many Christmas gifts as I could (my list is super long) not because I needed to, but because I wanted to.
And that makes a world of difference.
He writes, “Christmas scratches the itch of grace deep within us. It provides us the opportunity each year to deliberately get out of ourselves and do something tangible for someone else with no . . . interest in being ‘paid back.’”
My list, and probably yours, too, includes: janitors, mailmen, delivery guys, traffic officers, beauticians, hardware store salesman, street sweepers—people who have touched our lives during the year. As you imagine their smiles in unwrapping their gifts, you know they feel blessed, perhaps more than how you feel when unwrapping your own.
Swindoll adds, “Christmas [like no other annual celebration] prompts us to demonstrate true grace.” He asks, “What makes giving so wonderfully addictive?”
In sum, we have the itch to give on Christmas because we want to model the grace of Christ, who left His heavenly riches to give Himself to inconsequential us.
Are you making your Christmas gift list yet? I am sure it’s going to be super long.