GUEST POST: Today’s contributor to POP GOD Christmas is my friend Sean Taylor. Sean is the Pastor of Chandler Baptist Church of Missouri. Sean was also a mentor to me when I first began pursuing ministry. I always said we should write a book together and blogging together is getting pretty close to that. Sean is one my favorite writers and blogs at Plunge47.org. Check him out, subscribe to his blog, and enjoy his contribution to POP GOD:
We celebrated my daughter Darcy’s second birthday this week. The first gift she opened was a Disney mobile phone and purse.
She was so excited she did not want to open other presents. Instead, she screamed until we opened up the box and got out her plastic treasures. Eventually we coaxed her to tear open the other gifts…
… but the result was her sisters fawning over the new toys, while she texted on her phone. Even when we brought out the ice cream covered monster cookies – she refused to eat or blow out the candles. She only wanted her new purse and phone…
I could lament her actions, but let us be honest, even the best parents cannot over come the terrible two (or three if you have a late bloomer). It is an age of tantrums and exclamation pointed shouts of “NO”.
Instead, as we move into Christmas, I wonder about the perfect gift.
Days later Darcy is still carrying around her purse and making pretend phone calls to Aunt Audrey – the gift giver. She is willing to share the other gifts, but if a sister reaches for the phone or purse… death screams.
We all have a gift we want. We may not even know it. It is probably not expensive. But there is something we could receive that would leave us not wanting to share.
I once gave my dad a high performance air filter for his econobox car. A ridiculous gift, but my dad – a muscle car guy now driving a little sedan – loved it. (Or at least he did not complain about us getting him a gift, he normally hates it when we get him anything.)
To give THE gift takes thought. It takes time. You have to know the person. You have to listen and remember. Then you have to search or be ready when you stumble onto the perfect present.
But when we open THE gift… we may just smile, since we are older than two, but in our hearts we want to set aside the other presents and rip this one out of the box.
We will wonder how you thought of it. Wonder how you knew we wanted it. We will realize you care… no, that is not enough. We will realize you love.
This Christmas – be a gift giver who brings love.
3 thoughts on “How To Give The Best Kind Of Gift”
Great post Sean. Your story about our dad reminds me of a quote from George MacDonald: “For the real good of every gift it is essential, first, that the giver be in the gift–as God always is, for he is love–and next, that the receiver know and receive the giver in the gift.”
MacDonald goes on to make a great point about prayer: “Every gift of God is but a harbinger of his greatest and only sufficing gift–that of himself. No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best; therefore many things that God would gladly give us, things even that we need because we are, must wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come: when in all gifts we find him, then in him we shall find all things.”
Dad would rather us spend our attention and money on others, and thus shuns receiving gifts. In the same manner, I think we all struggle to really open up to the blessings God desires to give to us. I know your post was pushing us to be loving givers, but I’m hung up on being open receivers, particularly to God.
Yet truly these two ideas are intertwined–love leads to both.
You are right Jake, it takes grace to give – but also grace to receive.
Often to receive requires submission and vulnerability. Some must set aside pride, the belief that we can provide all things for ourselves. Others must let go of insecurities, the belief that we do not deserve. But as we give one to another we are small reflections of the image of God – who gave all to receive us. Thanks for reading and the feedback.
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