The heart of the gift is the most important part of the gift. Mom loved Christmas and giving gifts. She made sure everyone had something under the tree. She always had a spare gift in the closet for the unexpected guest. As grandkids began to multiply, we suggested drawing names. That was fine for everyone else, but she was going to have a gift for everyone. It brought her joy.
She loved a good bargain, so Christmas shopping would begin during the after Christmas sales. By the time November would roll around, she would discover that she had too many gifts. She would lose track of who she bought gifts for and would reallocate what she found in the closet.
As she aged, the gifts were sometimes a little strange. I had to teach my boys how to be gracious receivers. They didn’t always want what they were given, but they new the heart of the gift. They knew the heart of their grandma.
I am missing her a lot this holiday season, and have spent time reflecting on the joy she found in giving gifts. It’s easy for me to get stuck in obligation this time of year. I worry about forgetting a gift for someone. I worry about being fair in the amount I spend. I worry that the receiver won’t like the gift. This can pull out the joy in giving.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV).
God, who gave us the ultimate gift in Christ, encourages us to experience the joy in giving. We are called to set aside our obligation and embrace cheerful giving. Mom lived this fully. It has become her legacy. It is how she will live on within me as I strive to be a better gift giver.
How do you see the heart of the gift? Are you a cheerful giver? Have you set aside obligation? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.