Giving Gifts that Touch Lives

By Estey Silva

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. (Oren Arnold)

What a wonderful idea! Let’s think about how we can give these Christmas gifts daily.

“To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance.”
Most of us don’t really think that often about enemies. It sounds so harsh! But consider the question for a moment: Who or what are your enemies? Identity thieves, bullies, terrorists. Ok. But perhaps someone at school is gossiping and spreading pretty horrible rumors about someone. Gossip is an enemy. Perhaps you strongly disagree with certain politicians and have turned them into enemies. And most of us have faced opponents in sports or student government, etc.

What’s the best way we can respond to enemies? Forgive them. Know that everyone is just doing the best he or she can do to get through each day. Some days are better than others. Allow other people their own points of view and be open to them. And if we feel the need to challenge an opponent or viewpoint, we can do so without hating a person or destroying property. Discover and spread the truth; defeat a lie. Take part in healing, not in divisiveness. Practice empathy. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. Practice radical forgiveness as Jesus did, who advised his followers to forgive “seventy times seven” times (Matt 18:22). In the Bible, seven symbolizes completeness – absolute wholeness. Forgive them with your whole heart and be free of resentment and pain this Christmas season.

“To a friend, your heart.”
Have you given a friend your heart lately? Many of us get so caught up in the hubbub of daily life that communicating genuinely with someone is nearly impossible. Sure, we like our friends’ Facebook posts and re-tweet their tweets, but do we authentically connect heart to heart with them? Do we sincerely want to know how they feel about what’s going on in their lives? This Christmas season, linger a little longer. Invite friends to join you for an outing – even if it’s just for half an hour – and strive to uplift them, intently listening to and seeing your friends as God sees them – as His perfectly loved children. Beautifully celebrate Christmas by offering your heart to your friends.

“To a customer, service. To all, charity.”
How can we serve others this holiday season and be more charitable? There are infinite ways to bring the spirit of the Christ into our everyday lives. A simple smile and a genuine, “How are you?” to everyone we meet uplifts spirits. Getting out of ourselves and our own problems and finding ways to meet others’ needs, even if it’s difficult, brings about true happiness and healing. Expressing grace and refusing to react when people are rude deflate negativity and pave the way for peaceful resolutions. Volunteering to help worthy causes ensures that a spirit of charity impels our actions during this Christmas season. You can even talk to your parents and siblings about how to make this Christmas about service, charity, and giving.

“To every child, a good example.”
We’re all children of God. We all need good examples, and we can all set a good example, no matter how young or old we are. People are always watching what others do. Younger siblings watch older siblings. Children watch their parents. Students watch teachers. And if parents are wise, they’ll watch their children, too. No matter what our age or role, we can all learn how to better interact with others, how to carry ourselves with grace and love, and how to respect one another. Instead of focusing on changing someone else’s behavior, focus on elevating your own actions. The great Mahatma Gandhi intoned: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s a wonderful way to take the pressure off this holiday season and always!

“To yourself, respect.” Infuse every moment with self-respect this holiday season.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the second greatest commandment (Mark 12:31). Loving others is essential, but you can’t love others well until you love yourself. Make sure you look to God to care for your own needs so you can continue serving others successfully. Delight in serving others, but don’t neglect yourself. Practice loving yourself. Don’t condemn yourself if you’ve made mistakes. Forgive yourself. Be charitable this holiday season – not only to others, but to yourself as well. Everyone will benefit as a result.

Have a wonderful time preparing for Christmas this December! Merry Christmas from all of us at BibleWise.