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The best thing you can give your loved ones this Christmas

By: john weirick

Long lines.

An early morning (or late night).

Frenzied crowds and major sales.

You probably braved Black Friday to check off your Christmas list or waited until Cyber Monday to shop online. You’re not alone; reports estimate Americans’ holiday spending exceeds $616 billion each year.

If you’re like my family, you’ve probably wanted to cancel all the chaos of buying gifts when you know you’ll forget what you got each other before next winter. But the expectations of a traditional Christmas morning brought us right back to the turmoil of finding those perfect gifts for each family member.

You Can’t Buy Love

When it comes to Christmas, it’s often easier to focus on stuff instead of on the people we’re buying gifts for.

The lies we believe in the holiday season go like this:

If I don’t buy a good gift, they’ll think I don’t care.

If I don’t give them something, they’ll think I don’t love them.

You are not the gifts you buy. Your purchases will never equal the love you have for other people. Love cannot be bought; it must be shared.

Love cannot be bought; it must be shared.

Throwing money at a gift for someone without also investing in the relationship cheapens the gift, and it cheapens your relationship. Obsessing over it turns the gift into an idol. Giving is meant to be rewarding for both the giver and the receiver, so why would we want to keep exchanging gifts for the sake of expectation rather than the joy of our friendship or family ties?

It’s easy to give things but withhold our time, kindness, or love. If we’re not careful, we can exchange gifts without actually exchanging love for the people around us.

Exchanging Presence

Giving gifts is good; it mimics what God has done for us in giving us Jesus (John 3:16). But when giving gifts becomes a race to buy more and prove our love, it leads to a dangerous stockpile of consumerism.

Consumerism says to buy more to be happy (or make someone else happy); Christmas shows God did whatever it took to give us Himself (Titus 2:13-14).

Yes, let’s give gifts; but even more so, let’s give ourselves.

Express love by sticking with your friends and family through hard times, encouraging them, and challenging them in taking next steps. Call or visit more than once a year around Christmas. Listen to each other’s stories and how God is changing you.

Our presence with people is always more valuable than presents we give.

Gifts are temporary, but the relationships we have with God and with other people are what make an eternal difference (1 John 2:15-17). God wants more for us than mindless spending, frantic holidays, and excessive possessions (Luke 12:15).

Let’s say “yes” to Christmas but “no” to consumerism. Jesus didn’t come to give us more stuff; He came to give us a new life.

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