Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Gift To Bring

December 25th is just around the corner, and if you're a procrastinator extraordinaire with regards to shopping for gifts, I'm sure your adrenalin is beginning to pump and percolate right about now.  Crunch time has begun.

The other day on the news, they ran a story about how all those folks who left their homes well before dawn, braved the Black Friday crowds and bought several shopping cartloads of mega sale stuff were now returning most or all of it, because they are now finding themselves heavily strapped for cash.  

With a floundering economy and so many people out of work, I'm not surprised.

Even for those of us who did not rush out en masse late on Thanksgiving night or early on Black Friday morn to join the Shop 'Til You Drop crowd, it can still be a challenging time.   Because after all, Christmas is, we're reminded over and over via endless TV ads and Hallmark Christmas movies, 'the season of giving.'

But what if, like me, your bank account has nothing more than a fistful of dollars and some lonely tumbleweeds rolling around in it?

What if, like The Little Drummer Boy, you feel you have no gift to bring?

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

I know this may perhaps sound unequivocally trite and completely lame, but you DO have something to give.  And it will basically cost you nothing.

Give someone your smile.  Have you ever had someone smile at you, totally out of the blue, be it a friend, neighbor, coworker or just some random person on the street, in a store or in a doctor's office? Didn't it just make your day, especially if your day was headed down the toilet and on the fast track to Nowhere? Having someone catch my eye (proving I wasn't invisible after all) and flash me a thousand watt smile makes me feel special, noticed, and well....happy.  And I've seen people walking towards me with some pretty harsh and stoney faces suddenly transformed into such pleasant and approachable looking folks, just by sharing my smile with them. 

Give someone a hug.  All of the above applies to this act as well. God gave you two, good arms.  Use them to lovingly surround someone in need of comfort and joy and healing.  Yes, there are some out there who are hostile to forms of physical demonstrations like this.  Tread lightly, go with what the Holy Spirit inside of you leads you to do.

Give someone a rideWhile I'm well aware that gas is uber-expensive and being a taxi driver/chauffeur may not be your thing, if God has provided you with a reliable vehicle, why not consider using it to give a lift to someone who may need one to school, a store, church, a youth group event or to the doctor's office?  It might not seem like much to you, but believe me, it means a lot.

Give someone the benefits of your time or your talentsWe all have people in our lives who are going through a rough, lonely or a sad time.  Why not invite them over for some tea or coffee and some cookies, or some popcorn and a rented movie? (Redbox movies cost a mere $1 if you bring them back by the next day) Don't fret over the condition of your house with its vast dust bunny collection -- no doubt they have a collection of their own. Or if these folks are unable to leave their homes for whatever reason, why not bring those things over to their place?  

Can you style hair or manicure nails? Do you enjoy playing with children?  Do you love animals?  Do you have a talent for decorating?  Offer to do someone's hair or nails for free; babysit somebody's kids while they Christmas shop or go out for a date night and don't charge them; walk someone's dog(s) for them once or twice a week for a month or so, free of charge; or offer to decorate a friend's or family member's Christmas tree.  I did that for my husband's older sister, who was in a lot of pain that year and couldn't move much.  She gave me free reign to decorate their tree AND their living room with all of their Christmas decorations.  She was so grateful and I had SUCH a blast!!!  We both came away blessed.

Give someone encouragement.  Often during the Christmas season, people may experience what is referred to as 'the holiday blues,' due to health or financial problems, loneliness or the overly high expectation to have 'the perfect family Christmas' like the ones shown on so many Christmas movies. If you have the gift of encouragement, share it with someone who needs to be uplifted, through a phone call, a card with a sincere, positive message from YOU, or an offer to come and pray for them.  The New Living Translation for Ephesians 4:29 says: "Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."  And The Message version of the same verse says it this way: "Say only what helps, each word a gift."  Indeed.

Below is a picture of a lovingly handmade, handwritten Christmas card I received today from my sweet friend, Laura.  Laura's mom, Janette, was a dear friend, sister-in-Christ and Bible study buddy, whom I had the wonderful pleasure of praying for and with, and serving alongside of at our church's now defunct book and gift shop.  Janette, whom I wrote about in my blog post, 'It Takes A Strong Woman,'  is now in the arms of her loving Jesus, after succumbing to cancer last year.  Laura, a freshman at a college in Pennsylvania, and I have kept in touch through facebook and sometimes, like today, through snail mail.  She's young enough to be my daughter, but she has a way about her that is wise, understanding and compassionate  beyond her years, and she has been SUCH an encouragement to me.

These are all simple gifts that again, basically cost you nothing.  Except for maybe a bit of your time, effort, talent and heart.

No gift to bring?  In the song, 'The Little Drummer Boy' after admitting to being a poor boy with no gift to bring, the tiny drummer realizes that he DOES have something to offer the newborn King -- the gift of music.  A gift that God blessed him with. He played his best for the infant Jesus and he was rewarded with a smile from Him.  While yes, this is a fictional character and account from a Christmas carol, may it cause us to look within our hearts while using Holy Spirit supplied wisdom, discernment and imagination to find a gift that we can bring that will delight both Jesus and those special people in our lives.

And a loving thought sends us out to find
Something special for someone on our mind
And we think of friends and family
As we hang our gifts on the Christmas tree

It's the thought that counts when the thought is love
It's the thought that counts when you're thinking of
How the money flows in vast amounts
When the thought is love it's the thought that counts

And a loving thought sent a snow white lamb
To a little town known as Bethlehem
And the little lamb thought of you and me
As He hung His gift on the Christmas tree

It's the thought that counts when the thought is love
It's the thought that counts when you're thinking of
How the money flows in vast amounts
It's the thought that counts when the thought is love

Think of the precious gift He gave
Think of the life He thought to save ~ ‘It’s The Thought,’ by Twila Paris


  1. I love the Little Drummer Boy and what a perfect post! A wonderfully articulated reminder. I would expect nothing less from you, even if your back teeth were swimming in blue stuff. See what all that cleansing has done? Gained you clear vision for the holiday! Not that you didn't have that before but I bet you are feeling as light as a little snowflake... Hoping you have a wonderful rest of your week! Is this TMI for a blog comment? oh, well. If so just delete me! In His Grace, Dawn

  2. Dawn -- I am literally LAUGHING OUT LOUD over your comment. You are hilarious!!

    TMI for a blog comment? Ummm, have you read some of mine to you lately? It's perfectly fine. I'm sure those who read your comment will be intrigued over the blue stuff reference.

    As always, thanks for YOUR encouragement here.

    At His feet,


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