i really love giving gifts. specifically, i really love giving the right gift ... i really love it when i know someone well enough to give them the perfect gift--something they don't already have, something they wouldn't think to get for themselves, but something that they now can't imagine not having.
the problem of being a gift-giving-lover is that i often end up giving a LOT more gifts than i receive. that isn't necessarily a problem, but it creates a situation that reveals a problem in my heart: jealousy, a sense of entitlement, and material idolatry.
i prepare myself for it every year -- because, caught unaware, these little attitude problems become even uglier. but they are irrepressible, even if i'm the only one who knows it.
it starts with counting the boxes. then it moves on to comparing the value (monetary and sentimental) of the gifts i've given with the gifts i've received. soon i have a sinking feeling, a true knot in the pit of my stomach, a mixture of feeling unloved and unknown, feeling like i deserve something more, and then, of course, feeling appalled at such self-centered pride.
their gifts from me were so carefully and thoughtfully selected, because i love them. their joy in opening their gift gave me joy, too. the time and energy and money was totally worth it. why do i suddenly feel so empty, then, when the sentiment isn't returned?
i want to be loved, cherished, known. i want to be known. i want to be cared for. i want to be worth it.
there is an almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth and all that they contain, Who became flesh and bone, Who released His hold on His rights as God, so that He could know, really and truely and honestly know what it is to be human ... to be me. He gave up everything He was, everything He had, to be born a baby, so that He could know me, and you, and us ... so that He could be with us.
there is no more perfect, or costly, or desperately needed gift to be found on this--and all--Christmas days.
and now here i am. may i live in such a way that i return the sentiment. and may He know my love is real even when i don't.