Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bring on the Gifts!

(birthday party, likely in grade 4, based on glasses and hair)

I'm 45 today. That means that I have received at least 45 birthday presents in my time. I remember many of them because I really like presents. This epiphany came to me awhile ago and made me feel materialistic and greedy. Upon further reflection and investigation, I have happily accepted my inclination and even see it as absolutely godly...bring on the gifts :)

One  symptom of being "gifty" is heart failure when a gift doesn't arrive "on time". When I am buying for others, I simply won't order anything that might not get here for the occasion. That just seems unacceptable for some reason...like a dud firework failing in a sky of expectation. Another is getting a gift that has no relevance to you as a person. I will even override my "on time" rule if I can't find something that is just right for that person. I think this has to do with the value I place on expression and wanting to acknowledge the value of who a person really is. It says "I know you, what you value and want to please your heart". The opposite is just a rushed token of obligation...I can't seem to do that. A difficult fact to accept for a gifter sometimes, is that others often don't even want a gift, truly, they don't. I'll never get that. So, for those, I will often make a donation to a loved charity in his name. I did that once for my husband and it brought tears to his eyes. Perplexed but challenged, I learned that day.

My parents never missed a beat, and still don't, on this note. In fact, the wrapped treasure held even more weight from Mom and Dad because of the quality and thoughtfulness always put into the gift. Often, they presented me with hand made, energy and love filled things...dresses,  jelly cupboard, bed-spread, doll house, bed spread...I could go on for 45 years. Things I still treasure, either in my attic or in my heart. I don't know if these gestures formed my thinking or if they just fed it, but I understand and use this knowledge to love others the best I can. Their influence has also taught me that gifting is not materialistic or greedy. My most  treasured gifts often didn't cost a dime, like the wooden picture frame my son made for me when his chubby hand could barely hold the hammer or the shoebox full of Barbie Doll clothes my mom made from scraps. Homemade can hold more value than anything Mastercard can.

My poor, energy and creativity challenged husband now has to deliver. What an act to follow! It took a couple of decades for us to realize the hurdle and then to start to deal with it. First, he had to learn to think ahead and pay attention...to the oncoming occasion and to what I like. Secondly, I had to realize and accept that thoughtful gifts and timely presentations don't say "I love you" to him, so not to get my knickers in a knot when he forgets to gift me...or when he is not over-the-moon when I give him gifts. Eventually, we started to get it. His effort to change and expend himself in this unnatural way  is beautiful to me...love. Now, I don't waste my time and money on a gift for him, necessarily. All he really wants is me to clear my schedule to be with him and to shower him with affection. I can afford that...although it is still REALLY hard to restrain myself from buying him the world on his day. To make matters worse for him, it seems that I'm not at all slighted if anyone else fails to give me a gift...just him...so I am not expecting birthday gifts from all of my blog readers...the expectation lies totally on him. Talk about pressure. I'm trying to lighten up while still coaching him on to become more like Christ and give me wonderful gifts. It's the least I can do to help in his sanctification :)

 If God asks us to give to Him, even in tithes and offerings, then there must be something important to this way of giving. He obviously doesn't need it, nor is He ever materialistic or greedy. I think it's the desire and act of gift giving taking priority over holding money, or time and energy for that matter, for yourself. Being willing and able to part with money easily is a godly trait. He knew we'd need practice with that, so requires it regularly. The magi brought valuable gifts to Jesus and he was too young to really care. Maybe the gifts are more for the benefit of the giver than the receiver? For these reasons, I will embrace the love of gifts, firstly, the giving of them and secondly, the appreciating of them from others. 

Gift memories:

The "All things Garfield birthday"...


The "red nylons and matching ruffle blouse" birthday...love the 80's...


The " lace-up wedge shoes" that made me feel like a woman.
Shoes were cut off, but I remember them so well.


Gifts for others even made me giggle...I can see the excitement in my whole body here...short one on the left.


She was a gift I spent most of my birthdays with  :)



 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11


There are some things I want for my birthday. No longer do red nylons nor parties in my honor top the list. I have a few good "things" of eternal value I've been requesting. Maybe today will be the day for one of them. That would be something to really celebrate.