No Cheap Christmas Gifts!

Cadence, Filled with Joy. Christmas Day, 2009.

We’re all Bazillionaires

I was startled, some weeks ago, to find this subject line on a message board for Christian writers:

Surely the person who posted this meant cheap in the sense of  “purchasable below the going price or the real value,” but the phrase struck me as ironic, all the same. 

We all know the economy has devastated many, many families, communities, and regions in our country. And we tend to think of Christmas gifts as things we buy, wrap, and then ship, deliver, or slip under our very own Christmas tree. When you’re unemployed, or underemployed, the season of Christmas can feel not so very merry.

But when I hear “cheap” I don’t think “inexpensive.” I think of its other meanings:

a : of inferior quality or worth: tawdry, sleazy <cheap workmanship>b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities cheap>c : stingy cheap uncle>

Nobody wants to give a contemptible gift. Nobody wants to feel stingy. But when the newspapers, broadcast ads, and even your email inbox conspire to assault you with exhortations to buy expensive trinkets, touting them as The.One.Thing that will make Christmas special…well, it’s easy to succumb to that viewpoint.

And when you don’t have the money to buy those gizmos, it can throw a cold, wet blanket over your Christmas joy. 

But here’s the thing:
No matter what kind of poverty reigns in our wallets this Christmas, in our hearts, we store wealth beyond measure. 

We’re celebrating the birth of our Savior, who came down, God Incarnate, to walk and breathe and minister to us. He entered this world the same way we all do, squeezed and bloody, to redeem us at an unimaginable price.

And that price He paid? It makes us all rich, rich, rich!

It’s a great year to give heart-gifts. You know what goodies you carry in your heart. A long conversation with a friend, a tray of cookies, a walk through winter to admire Christmas lights, an afternoon spent at the library, choosing a pile of engrossing tales–these treasures can’t be bought for money. 
Here’s the thing: Anything we can wrap up and deliver to a loved one pales in worth beside the gift we all received on that cold night in Bethlehem a few thousand years ago. We’re not going to top the original Christmas gift. We’re not going to match it. 

The closest we can come, this Christmas, or at any time, is to give from the storehouse of grace in our hearts. It overflows. Always. 
Merry, merry Christmas.

For there is H)’>one mediator also between God and men, the J)’>gave Himself as a ransom for all, the d]’>given at L)’>the proper time.  

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NASB)