Dear Dr. Levister: I am pained by the commercialization of Christmas. I am not a very religious person but would like to demonstrate my belief that it is more blessed to give than receive. What are your suggestions? G.S.
Dear G.S.: Let your gifts this holiday season be something personal that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift will be to forgive someone you’ve needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you’ve given a gift back to yourself.
Plan a project of goodwill this Christmas: Recently a patient shared a heartwarming story of how he “adopted” a single mom. His friend was barely making ends meet and didn’t have money to buy gifts for her small child. Together with his wife’s family he bought gifts for both of them and replaced her broken down refrigerator the week of Christmas. Do you have an elderly neighbor in need of home repairs or yard work? Find someone with a genuine need, involve your whole family and see how happy you can make someone this Christmas.
Take a group Christmas caroling in a nursing home or a children’s hospital: My neighbor decided to incorporate Christmas caroling at a nearby nursing home into her yearly staff Christmas party plans. They all met first at the nursing home and toured the facility while singing Christmas carols. Afterwards, they headed back to their party with their hearts full of tenderness. She said it was the best staff Christmas party she’d ever had.
Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family: Jesus taught us to serve by washing the disciples feet. He also taught us that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35 (NIV). The idea of giving an unexpected gift of service to members of your family is to demonstrate Christ-like love and service. You might consider giving a back rub to your spouse, running an errand for your brother, or cleaning out a closet for your mother. Make it personal and meaningful and watch the blessings multiply.