I have been privileged the last three years to lead a junior high small group. I have really enjoyed having eight to ten boys come to my office twice a month and talk about topics relevant to them. They are surprisingly open with me and at least they say they enjoy the time we spend together.
Last week the small groups had a Christmas theme. We talked about gifts. I asked my guys what were the best gifts they had ever received and the best ones they had ever given. One theme that seemed true for the best they had received were ones that they had hoped for over long period of time or that they had really needed. When friends or loved ones gave these types of presents the gifts were most appreciated.
As they thought about what were the best gifts they had ever given one eighth grader shared that the best present he ever gave was a card he had made in youth group for an elderly member of their church. This elderly person had appreciated it so much that it was very special for the giver.
This led into a discussion about the greatest “gift” ever given. The baby Jesus, the Savior of the world. When the Lord gave us this gift it was for similar reasons as when we give gifts in the best spirit. He knew we needed this gift desperately. He knew what we needed more than we did. He sacrificed for this gift.
Isn’t it ironic that the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is because of the greatest gift ever given and how few people recognize that any more? Isn’t it also fantastic that Christian young people can, with loving Christian parents, churches, and Christian teachers, make that connection and recognize the greatest gift as well as what is meaningful for them when they both give and receive?
Have a blessed giving and receiving season. Be thankful for the love of our God and Father and his gift of Jesus Christ and give in that spirit.