Thanksgiving is past, Christmas is coming. I truly believe that all the glitzy ads for "Black Friday" starting on Thursday (or even earlier) distract from this season: It is all about “giving!” In reality it is all about getting! This is even compounded by extending "Cyber Monday" for the entire week.
Many words have been written about the value of giving; like selecting that special gift, only to find out that it appreciated less than it should be. This is magnified by the plethora of gifts with which we are showered during our traditional Christmas. How does one appreciate one gift over another? The issue of re-gifting has come up as being inappropriate, yet a gift once given is the property of the recipient to do with as she might desire. In any other way it is not really a gift: if there are any strings attached the gift and the giver impose conditions. This is more like a contract, than a freely given gift-item.
This opens another problem area: reciprocation! If I give a special gift, I expect a special gift in return. Anything less causes disappointment and even resentment.
Then there are the heart-rending appeals for donations at this time. Many worthwhile organizations use this era of the commercialization of the Christmas season very effectively.
I am not sure how I am supposed to act at this time; obviously not like Scrooge, but that is one extreme. Selfless giving is also fraught with difficulties. The choice between wants and needs seems to be more obscured than ever. Clothing and food are needs, MP3 players and I-phones maybe “necessary,” but obviously fall in the category of wants. So, we enter the era of gift cards.
The only strings attached are the amount and if selected, the store where one is supposed to use the card. It solves most problems for the giver as well as the recipient. It is easier to reciprocate as well, after all there is a specific monetary value to consider.
I don’t purport to know the answers, but I would like to refocus my sights on the real reason for Christmas:
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...
I cannot out-give that, I can’t even reciprocate,
I can but accept it in humility.
Have a truly blessed Christmas.