In the Ring Over Gifts

This year for Christmas I’ve been wrestling with God and myself on an issue that seems to keep popping up for me every year right around this time:  Gift Giving/Receiving.

I heard a sermon earlier this year about contribution versus expectation. I posted it up on a chalk board in my home and as I was decorating for Christmas, I ended up placing my nativity picture in the same space as it. I got to thinking, Christ’s birth was a contribution to fulfill our expectation. Christ contributed with His life to fulfill God’s expectation of righteousness in us.

I thought, “Cool God, that’s deep,” but then I made the mistake of asking God to change my heart this year about giving and receiving gifts. And of course, He was faithful. And unexpectedly, contribution versus expectation took on a whole new meaning.

I do not doubt that God has a sense of humor. In addition to my normal gift buying woes–gift giving is not my love language–the opportunity to purchase gifts for each of the forty-one kids at the school where I work, presented itself. I wrestled through the whole expectation of me giving them a gift versus contributing cheerfully.

To be honest, and this will come as no surprise, most of the time I am a reluctant gift giver. And as for receiving, well, let’s just say I’ve not been exactly gracious in the past. But I want to change. I truly do.

I long to be a generous, cheerful contributor instead of a reluctant giver bound up by expectations. And I want all of my expectations of incoming gifts to fall by the wayside and instead to embrace the spirit of the giver as I receive it with authentic joy.

More than these I want next Christmas to be void of this issue altogether.

And back to Christ. . . the world awaited the Messiah to come, but their expectations were inaccurate and many ended up rejecting His greatest contribution.  Hmm, still mulling over all the meanings of contribution versus expectation.

What about you? Are you a generous, cheerful contributor or do you get caught up in gift-giving expectations?