what makes a gift?

Today is one of my dearest friends’ birthdays. As I contemplated what to give her, I knew it was not going to be easy to think of something. I have been “listening” for clues for months of what she might like, knowing I’d be facing this dilemma. She is the perfect gift giver, always thoughtful, always with the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, and she does it often without occasion. She is a born shopper, knows her stuff, and knows just where to find it. In fact, it is what she does for a living as a interior design architect, so you can’t outshop her. So, how do you deal with that level of generosity and love? She is not only generous but has one of the sweetest hearts for God I know. She wants desperately to live for Him, and she teaches me new things about His love almost every day. She has learned well from the greatest Giver of all—Christ Jesus, who gave us the perfect gift, eternal life that we may have life more abundant.
In all of the contemplation about what to get her this year, I think I have learned a few things on this quest about what makes a gift a gift. We both are at the place in our lives if we need something, we pretty much can go out and get it and not think twice about blowing the grocery money. So, my first thought is if it doesn’t cost us something, is it a gift? A true gift has to not only come out of love, but cost us something dear. It doesn’t have to break the bank, whether it is time, money, or talent, but it does require something beyond the ordinary. For me, the most costly commodity is my time. So, a good gift from me requires spending some time.
The second thing I have learned about what makes a good gift is that there are no strings attached. It is a gift. Christ Jesus gives us Grace—God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Christ paid the price, and all we have to do is acknowledge His Lordship, and His forgiveness for our own sinfulness, and say, “Yes, I believe and I accept Your Gift.” That perfect Gift can never be taken away. It is not conditional upon our doing enough good to save the world on our own. It is not about anything but His love for us. So, He extends the greatest gift ever given, and asks, “Would you take it? It’s all yours for the asking.”
The next thing I notice about a good gift is that it comes from love and makes the other know they are loved. It is from and about the heart. And it is given in that spirit of Love. It is tangible love. Though it often isn’t even something you can hold in your hands, it is a remembrance of your love and it is meaningful.
Some gifts are not meant for forever. Once I heard a friend ask, “Is it still a gift if it is taken away too soon?” I wondered what kind of pain would stir such a question and who or what she had lost that was so precious to her. What I’ve learned about gifts is they may not always be with us, but they bring joy and they bring a richness to life that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. Is it still a gift? Perhaps it is even more important to see and appreciate how precious a gift it is because we understand all the more that nothing in this world is meant to be forever but Christ alone and His Kingdom.
Through His perfect gift, which every other gift emulates, a gift always celebrates life. Whether it is a birthday, an anniversary, or an ordinary day, it calls upon a response inside of us—the force inside us to be grateful and joyful and celebrate life, and life abundant! A gift mirrors God in a multi-faceted and complex way, and yet in the most simplest—it says I love you! Happy, happy Birthday, Donna. I so love you.

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3 thoughts on “what makes a gift?

  1. My friendship and love for you is forever, thanks be to God. This post obviously has some holes in it. I don’t believe love dies because Love always was and always will be. Thanks for the added insight Jean. You make me think one step beyond.

  2. I never really questioned ‘what makes a gift, a gift’. I always put a lot of thought into giving a gift. For me I really want it to fit the person and the personality. But the most important gift we can give someone is the gift that we received through Christ. I really enjoy the witness you are being through your blog. God Bless you and may you enjoy giving to your friends and family. Karen

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