The Gift that Counts


"Presents are the best way to show some one how much you care.  It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say, 'Hey man – I love you this many-dollars-worth.'" – Michael Scott as played by Steve Carrell, explaining why he spent four hundred dollars on the office Secret Santa gift exchange when the limit was $20. 

My friend Amy Jo hates the giving and getting of gifts at Christmas.  I mean, she really loathes it.  She has written a great bulk of material on why and you can actually see pain behind her eyes when the topic comes up every year, like clockwork: every 12 months.

When Amy Jo hears about my husband's experience at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, she will have even more material for her writings. see

But I think the reason she makes such a strong argument is that she is a natural gifter.  She is really good at giving gifts all year long.  She is one of those people who will hear the random thought in your sentence and gloriously gift you with the most correct and perfect object -your unspoken heart's desire.  And you wonder to yourself, "How did she see that in me?  How did she know?"

And it seems to me that that is what makes the right gift so wonderful: it tells you something about yourself.  The well-chosen object becomes a little "mirror in which we see ourselves in the loving eye of the giver." 

I once saw an 1800's Victorian needlepoint pillow.  The image was of a gloved hand holding forth a posy of flowers and the ornate lettering said, "Love the Giver."  And isn't that what our gift-giving is pleading for at times?  If I give you this, will you please love me??? Certainly that is what Michael Scott was striving for at the office Christmas party.

But it's Christmas and I am the most joyful when I can express my love in a truly tangible way.  I am not a very good gifter – not like Amy Jo, so I need Christmas to get me going on it – for remembering the people I love dearly.

Plus I like receiving gifts! I truly love the givers!  And I think it is OK to enjoy getting gifts. But giving brings so much more delight.  I wish I were better at it all the time.  

So, if I had to choose between getting and giving, I'd give because of the great joy of it.  And even in the small gifts I give, I share – remembering the great gift God gave me in Jesus Christ: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…" (John 3.16).

He gave me all I'll ever really need.  My heart overflows because of this and I want to GIVE, too!

Tidings of Comfort and Joy!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: make my list and check it twice…or more…

4 thoughts on “The Gift that Counts

  1. sometimes I wonder if we spend so much time focusing on the "Christian-way-to-do-Christmas"…GIVE…, that we miss the importance of a proper understanding of the 'true' meaning of Christmas might also be…to recieve…Him!  If we try hard we can balance, and giving-and-receiving is what creates that flow in our lives that keeps us from hoarding, bloating, stagnating, or becoming spiritually anemic…but then, given our human nature, God was promted, out of need I think, to remind us, "…it IS better to give than receive."

  2. Cute post Jeanie. My heart is sad for you Amy Jo..I just think, who ruined this amazing season for you, and can I go beat them up??? Giving gifts is a wonderful thing. I love the challenge of finding something special that actually speaks to the giftee…Something that I desire to communicate to that person about how I feel about them. It's fun!! and yes, getting gifts is a blast too!! Merry, merry, **Truly** Merry Christmas to you!!

  3. The most special gift I received was from your brother.  We found an antique ring at a second hand store in Richmond and he had Tami secretly go back and buy it for me, mailing it to my best friend back at home to wait for Christmas morning.  The love note he included is the most treasured item in my jewelry box..

  4. Amy Jo reminds me of Charlie Brown. I think  she hates the commercialism of Christmas. You know, the pressure of getting that perfect gift, but she has already given the best gift to anyone who knows her. Her freindship.

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