Hi. My name is Becky and I'm a Christmas-aholic. I love everything about it. (well, except for Black Friday shopping, but that is a discussion for a different time. :-D) Christmastime heightens and delights all of my senses. I love the sight of candles and twinkly lights, the smell of evergreen and cinnamon, the taste of festively flavored coffee and all sorts of delectable treats that I only allow myself to indulge in during the holidays. :-D I love the sound of Christmas music and crackling fires and the feel of snuggly socks and blankets and all those extra hugs that people seem more ready to give during the holidays. And I LOVE Christmas movies. Way more than I should probably admit. Especially the old-school ones like the animated Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown. Like I said, Christmas-aholic. The whole scene is pretty cheese-tastic. This I know. Love me anyway, ok?
And one of my favorite things of all is when I think of a truly perfect gift for someone I love. Not just any gift. Not some new soon-to-be obsolete electronic item. Not another sweater. Not even a gift card, although I have given many and probably will give more this year. I'm not opposed to any of those things in general. I have given those kinds of items before, and I'm sure I will again. They're practical, and sometimes people really like them. They just don't seem "special" to me. I like special. SO--with that in mind, I try to find gifts that accomplish at least 1 of the following requirements:
a) The gift represents a special memory or captures a significant moment in time that will serve as a lifelong reminder to the recipient. Maybe it has the power to bring a laugh on a difficult day or remind a friend that they are loved.
b) The gift somehow makes life significantly easier/better for the recipient. By this, I don't mean something like a newer, faster iPod. I'm thinking more like a snowblower for an aging parent so that they don't have to shovel heavy snow. Or a few weeks of maid service for a new Mom to help her get some rest. Things like that.
OR my favorite--
c) The gift has the potential to have a compelling and meaningful impact on the recipient. One of my habitual examples of this is the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Jared and I give this book as a gift to every couple we know when they get married. (Of course, we combine it with something from their registry lest you think we are completely opposed to the more "practical" gifts. :-D) It is easily the best book on marriage I have ever read, primarily focused on the work of the Holy Spirit and grace within the marriage rather than teaching individuals how to "get what they want" from their spouse. But I digress. That is yet another discussion for a different time.
The MAIN point of this post was to get to offering a suggestion for a gift that I think works for pretty much all three of these categories. I don't have many brilliant ideas, but this is one I'm pretty excited about. Let me know what you think. . . .
A few years ago, I realized for reasons I (thankfully) don't even remember that my "career" as a parent would include a lengthy list of failures and shortcomings. It's called being human, right? Or so I recall being told. But I didn't like that answer. Not because I didn't agree with it. Certainly it is true that my humanness (and Jared's) will limit our ability to parent our children perfectly, but I don't want to settle for that. And the only antidote I know to my sinful, imperfect, constantly failing humanness is the sinless, perfect, constantly redeeming power of Christ. So how do I make sure my girls see that thread throughout the fabric of their lives? Ok--here's my "brilliant" idea-- When Macy and Grace were very young, I bought Jared 2 ESV journaling Bibles and asked him to alternate using them as he studied and marked in them and journaled throughout. I figured if he did this for 20 or more years, both Bibles would be filled with all sorts of notes and insights. My plan is to give each of our girls one of these Bibles on their wedding day. (Shhhhh! ;-) ) The idea is that we want to be able to say to them, "We know we didn't always get it right, but please see that we were in the Word trying to do our very best to center our family around Christ." Or something along those lines. I love this for so many reasons: 1. They will be able to see the time spent in those Bibles. Jared dates every entry, so they will see year after year of study and reflection. 2. They will see names of wonderful teachers/writers/scholars referenced throughout the pages. Names like Ray Ortlund and Tim Keller and Martin Luther. I hope that our girls will know and love the teaching of these men just like their Dad and I do and that they will be part of the legacy of faith these men leave behind some day. 3. I can't think of many things more precious and special than hand-written notes from the pen of someone I hold dear. I have a handwritten journal and cookbook from my Mom that I wouldn't trade for anything, and I have a card from my Grandmother in which she scrawled in very weak and shaky writing at the very end of her message, "I'm so proud of you, Beck." This I will treasure until the day that I see her again in the presence of Jesus. These are just a couple of examples, but I have boxes full of similar items. They are priceless to me, so the idea that my girls will have something like this in the form of a Bible which also happens to hold their Dad's exhortations and discoveries in the Scriptures makes my heart sparkle. I truly hope and pray that they will cling to Christ throughout their entire lives, and this is just one way I'm attempting to keep Him in front of them in every way I can.
SO there you go. Feel free to steal my idea if you think it might work for someone you love. It might be a little tricky, since you have to give it to someone with the expectation that they will eventually "re-gift" it, but hopefully once you pass along the idea, they will understand and enjoy it. :-D
Merry Christmas, everybody! May we all find creative ways to help the radiance of Christ permeate and saturate the lives of those we love!