I like to make handmade Christmas gifts. I’m sure not everyone appreciates them, but many people have said that they do. My budget is typically stretched thin at all times, so handmade items help the gift money go a little bit (or a lot) further than it otherwise would. I also enjoy making things, especially crocheting and sewing. I have probably spent over 50 hours making Christmas gifts this year. I have also spent a good number of hours shopping as well.
Giving Christmas gifts is a time consuming endeavor, even if you don’t make them yourself. Sometimes it seems to be a bit much, especially considering that Christmas is one day of the year. Religiously, I don’t consider the events of Christmas more important than those of Easter; in fact, probably less so (although I’m sure that could be debated among religious scholars, of which I am certainly not one). It’s difficult at times to separate the religious significance of Christmas from the cultural aspects of its celebration.
One thing I have done in an attempt to stay focused on God in this busy season is to think about what gift I can give to Him for Christmas. Through prayer and contemplation, I can usually identify some aspect of my life that He wants to bless by changing me (and which I am often resisting). Sometimes I need to lay down a bad habit or dedicate my self a little more fully to a better one. Other times, I can bless Him by blessing someone in need. In both Matthew and Mark, Jesus says that helping others in His name pleases Him (Mark 9:41).
I also like to focus on the gifts God has given me, like the ability to write, to teach, and to have faith in Him. Even the gifts I can give to God really originate with Him. The most I can do is give back to Him some of what He has most generously given to me first.
I will enjoy giving and receiving material gifts this Christmas as a reminder of what God did for us at Christmas in sending His son to us. If that were the extent of my consideration of gifts at this season, however, my experience would be incomplete, indeed.