I am not good at Christmas. Months before December 25th, I’m plagued with stress – little wiggle worms in my brain saying got to find the perfect gift. There is a lot to do this time of year: decorate the house; send cards to friends and family; cook Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce; go shopping for that perfect gift. If I don’t find the perfect gift, how will they know I love them?
It might be easier if I were rich and could buy cars and iPhones and diamond rings, but would that satisfy the nagging thought that, though expensive, though coveted, maybe it wasn’t really the perfect gift after all?
Endless advertisements that began I swear shortly after the Fourth of July have been telling me what to buy, so how is it Christmas Eve and I still don’t know? I look at the little pile of stuff I am about to wrap and the angst rises. What if they don’t like it? What if they already have one? What if this book or DVD or scarf doesn’t show my love? What if it isn’t enough?
When I was a hippie, we made things for each other: a hand-written recipe book; a jar of home-canned pickles; a wooden doll house or train; a card with a note, “good for 1 massage”. Of course we had very little, so anything was appreciated. And we were all stoned so it was always pretty groovy.
In my grandmother’s day, a yard of satin ribbon was an suitable gift for a little girl. Now it’s a $300 designer handbag. Inflation? Guilt? Love = money spent.
And where does Jesus fit in this pandemonium of gift-giving? Though I’m not exactly a Christian, this is His day. His gift was of himself, and we could learn from that, no matter what religion we are or are not. What about peace on earth? Are we closer to that goal or farther away than ever? Sadly, I doubt He would recognize what we’ve done to His birthday.
It’s certainly not all bad, the colors and lights and joy that the Great American Christmas has become. Vignettes of co-workers decorating the office, of families running through the rain to the mall. The season brings us together, whether we like it or not. What we do with it is up to us.
Today I will take what comes, and give back what I can. I will ask God for the knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out. I will let go my own feeble attempt at control and allow the miracle. I will share something of myself with my friends and family….
Share something of myself, something only I can give.
It doesn’t cost money, and it can’t be wrapped in a box, but might that be the perfect gift I’ve searched for all along?