A last minute Christmas gift (and it’s not too late)

A few years ago on Christmas morning, after all the gifts were opened, with wrapping paper strewn all across the living room, my husband pulled out an envelope. I hadn’t seen this gift sitting around, but the look on my husband’s face showed that I should be excited. Anticipating what could be inside, I opened the envelope and found twelve homemade coupons/certificates with my name on them for a lunch date with a girlfriend of my choosing. On his own, he had taken a personal spin on our family coupons, which up to this point had been focused on our kids. With loads of respect for my husband, I have to admit, I couldn’t believe he had thought of this on his own!

I needed to set the date a month in advance and he would either come home and be with our kids, or if his schedule didn’t allow that, he would arrange a babysitter. The key is that HE would arrange the sitter for me. All I had to do was select a friend, a date, and the location. He would take care of the rest of the logistics of leaving four kids at home. And on a few occasions, he even volunteered to watch the friend’s kids too, so that she wouldn’t have to pay a sitter. The best was the time we left him with eight kids. We just drove away and laughed the whole way up the street!

What makes this gift the best?

This gift showed he knew me. He knew my heart and recognized where it lacked. Having just moved to a new town, I was craving girl friendships, and they just weren’t happening without some intentionality. At this time I had a 7, 4, 3 and 1 year and was primarily staying at home with all of them. It was hard to make time to just see a friend, and if I did, it was usually with my four and often some of theirs in tow – which of course meant many interrupted conversations. It was definitely the stage of life where I would leave a playdate and ask myself, ‘Did we even finish that conversation?’ So these circumstances made an hour lunch date with a girlfriend ALONE feel almost dreamy.

So what is it that your spouse or friend would really benefit from? What are they missing in their life? I mention friend because this doesn’t have to be just a spouse thing. I once had a friend give me a babysitting coupon which was super kind and showed a level of care and knowledge of my life that really ministered to me. Recently, we gave my mom an ‘IT Help’ coupon. She loved it, and scheduled a day for Charles to come ‘fix’ her printer. (It just needed to be hooked up!) Our needs may look different, but we all have them.

And as the body of believers, it is right to ask ourselves how we can serve one another. Often the best gifts aren’t ones that involve any exchange of money or physical gift, but instead are ones of time. Someone gives their time, and thus shows love. How we spend our time matters. We can always make more money, but we can never get more time. So when we give our time to someone, it can powerfully show how much they matter to us.

What is our goal in giving a gift? Gift giving is about creating a bond. When we understand someone else and want to give them a gift, it promotes relationship. The Christmas gift of Jesus was a gift of relationship. God sent his Son to deal with sin in order to create a relationship with rebellious people. The gift of our time is a small way we can echo God’s gift and move us closer together in relationship.

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