Christmas Is for Giving
Some husbands are like this, too. Susan came for counseling because she was feeling empty and unfulfilled. She said to me, "My husband is a good man. He has a good job. He has given me freedom to develop and use my abilities. He has given me a car and everything a woman could want except what she needs most of all. He has no idea how to give himself."
Some of the early Christians were written about in the Bible because of their generosity. Iím sure the reason their story was included in the greatest of all books was because "they first gave themselves."1 Their monetary gifts were a natural expression of their having first given themselves. This is the secret for all true giving.
But how do we give ourselves?
Primarily by being open and transparent and sharing our true feelings.
The closed person who is insecure and defensive hides behind his mask. He isnít free to open himself, and therefore cannot give himself. He is afraid that if he does open himself and becomes known for who he really is he wonít be liked or loved, so he stays closed.
People can only give themselves when they are able to remove their masks and share their innermost feelings, their faults, temptations, sins, weaknesses, failures, strengths, joys, and dreams.
This doesnít mean that we should share all of these things with everyone. Not at all. However, to be able to give ourselves we need to be able to open our inner selves to at least the ones we love.
This means we express our deepest feelings to them. We also give them our understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love. Our gifts and favors to them don't have any strings attached. We give them time. We give them our full attention. We learn how to listen to them and hear what they are saying even beyond their words. We are sensitive to and are accepting of their feelings. When we are with then, we are with them. We do not withdraw and always give them our presence.
The giving of ourselves is the
most valuable gift of all.
Giving gifts without giving ourselves is a kind of tradeoff. It may not even be giving at all. It may be little more than manipulation. The popular songwriter made a profound statement when he wrote, "All I have to offer you is me," because that is one of the greatest gifts of love there is.
To love is to give yourself. Thatís the whole point of Christmas. God loved us so much that, to save us from our self-destructive sins, he gave himself by giving his own Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn gave himself for us. He gave his life on the cross to purchase forgiveness and the gift of eternal life for us.
To receive Godís gift of forgiveness and eternal life, all we need to do is admit our sinfulness, thank Christ for dying on the cross in our place, and respond to his invitation to receive him unto our heart as Lord and Savior.
And so, in our giving this Christmas may we first thank God for his gift of love to us, and give of ourselves to our loved ones before giving them material gifts.
Godís gift of divine love and the gift of yourself are of more value than all the paintings or treasures in the world. Theyíre free. Theyíre already yours. Have you discovered them? For a prayer to help you accept God's free gift click on the "God's Invitation" button link below. (Note: If you are on any site other than that of the main website of ACTS International, click on the "God's Invitation" button or link at the bottom of the page.)
1. 2 Corinthians 8:5.
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