"THE GIFT" by Nicole Peltz (Salon)
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By Deb

Have you ever caught yourself, in one of those  disgustingly honest moments, when you're giving a "gift" because you're  really expecting something in return? Not that any of us would openly  admit to that. But come on. Maybe it was even a "thank you" in return.  Ever wonder if the reason we think people expect so much from us, is  because, if we're honest with ourselves, WE expect so much for  ourselves? What if Christmas time wasn't about writing out a list of  wants and having a list of people we HAD to buy for. What if we didn't  even put the "from" on the gifts we gave? Would gift shopping stress you out as much as it does now? Would you spend as much money? Or maybe you would spend more?
Christmas time in America has become something it was not meant to be. Instead of it being a self-LESS time, it's really  become more of a self-ISH time. And as my dear Minnesotans friends know, "ISH" is NOT a good thing.
There are some things that are in motion in our  society that we just cannot change. HOWEVER, there are things that WE,  ourselves, can do differently regardless of what society is doing. Here  are just a few challenges I give to you:

First: Give a  gift to someone, and don't put your name on it, and DO NOT act like you  even know they received a gift. So often, we'll "give in disguise" only  to hint later on that we were the ones who gave. The Bible says in Matt  6:1-4 : "Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men,  to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father  in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with  trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to  be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left  hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in  secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward  you." We can think, "I give God, why am I not getting in return." Well  first of all, bad attitude. Second of all, the bible says right here, if you're giving so that people see and offer compensation (yes even a  'thank you'), then you've received your reward. It all goes back to  the ATTITUDE OF YOUR HEART and so often, we crave to be acknowledged by  man. Trust me, acknowledgement from God is far better.

Second: Buy gifts for people, not based on money or lists, but based on what  you think would truly bless them. Maybe it's a Date Night care package.  Maybe it's five pairs of socks. Maybe it's a nice new watch. Who cares  what the item is if it is a gift that honestly comes from your heart and is something that you think will truly BLESS THEM. Because we can NOT  change how people respond to our gifts - try to remember, we need to be  more concerned about our own hearts when it comes to giving - than  changing someone else's heart. So, what will doing this change in us?  That annoying habit of always trying to please other people. It's a  vicious, unsatisfiable grave. When we stop trying to please others, and  just simply LOVE others and desire to bless them, not only is life less  stressful, it's more fulfilling.

So, keep a check on your own heart this season.  Be thankful for whatever gift comes your way. You'll never actually know why another person gave what they gave. So find ways to be thankful for whatever you do or don't receive. Give gifts because you're thankful  for those people and because you want to bless them. You'll find  yourself less stressed and much more in line with what Christmas is all  about: LOVE.

Comments
By Nic B
December 12, 2012 at 05:40pm
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, for sharing this message!!!
By Diane A
December 14, 2012 at 10:42am
A beautiful reminder. Thank you Nicole!
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