reflecting on christmas

December 25, 2004

How many of the gifts passed out around trees today will still be in use next Christmas, or even six months from now? I have this conflict within me between what I hope to receive for Christmas, and what I find I am content without.

My wife and I skipped exchanging presents this year in preparation for a few skimpy months ahead. I really enjoyed the process of just watching our daughter open some gifts and seeing the excitement on her face. Later in the day, I had the opportunity to watch a whole bunch of people who don’t spend that much time together, and some who hardly know each other, try to give each other the perfect gift. In many cases, the retailers that sold the items received the greatest blessing.

We’ve turned Christmas into this time where we need to give just for the sake of giving, with little regard as to what the exchange means. I see retail stores filled with frantic people just trying to find something that might be of value to the person who is on their list.

Don’t read me as cynical, and don’t misunderstand me — I truly love Christmas. I love giving presents, and I love receiving them. Hence the conflict. I want to give deeply meaningful presents to people I appreciate and love. I want to see their faces light up because I know them well enough to get them something that they will treasure. I want this time of year to be a time that my child(ren) know that there will be something special for them.

It’s the rest of it I can do without. I can skip receiving presents that I have no interest in, just because someone thought they needed to get me something. I can skip the pressure of trying to figure out what to get for someone just for the sake of getting them something. I want to give someone a present not because they expect it, but because I can’t picture what my life would be like without them. I want to receive presents not because someone feels obligated, but because I mean something to them. I want to know that when someone walks into my office and hands me a CD, it’s because that is an opportunity for them to say they appreciate me. (Thanks Chris! 🙂 )

Nothing too profound here…just trying to sort out some of the things that have been rambling through my brain today.

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