For the month of December – in honor of Dressember – I’ll be blogging everyday! Thoughts on anything from fighting for justice to feminism, from dresses I’m wearing to books I’m reading, and everything in between.
It’s December 10th and it’s just now hitting me that Christmas is, basically, tomorrow. I know – technically there’s still 15 days. But all of a sudden the realization of how soon that is – how soon people are packing up to go home for the holidays, how soon I need to get gifts bought and cards written, how soon I need to start getting my act together – hit me. 15 days?! Eish.
My parents have been hounding me for a Christmas list – please tell me I’m not the only one in my mid-twenties who still makes those? I don’t quite remember making these lists when I was younger, but I feel like it must have been easy. Going through the Toys R Us catalog and circling what I would hope Santa would bring. As I grew up, I always had a little trouble making a Christmas list – with my birthday so recent, I had just gotten items from my wish list. But this year, it feels impossible. Currently only one thing is coming to mind: socks.
I know, realistically, I can add all the books from my Goodreads “to read” list. I can go through my bathroom and make a list of the toiletries that are running low and I’m too cheap to buy myself (adulting is #hard). I could work really hard to try and come up with a list of things I need in my life. But as I was considering asking for lotion and face toner and razor blades, a thought occurred to me. Am I really making a gift list? Or merely a shopping list for my parents?
I know some people hate that Christmas has become too about gifts, not enough about the true reason for the season. Personally, I love gifts. I love getting to go shopping for friends, spending time and money to celebrate who they are in my life. I love that we take this time every year to celebrate that Jesus gave us the best gift possible by giving gifts to each other. I really do love that! But it’s when we’re swapping gifts for the show of it, when we’re spending money on each other just to spend money on each other, that Christmas becomes sad to me.
I’m really lucky that I’m part of a family who wants to give me gifts every Christmas, who want to show their love in that tangible way. But, as I’m having a problem coming up with a wish list, I’m wondering if I have a problem accepting gifts? There’s a line of not asking for things we don’t need, of being practical, of remembering there’s people suffering all over the world and we should use our money in mindful ways. I’m not expecting a new car Christmas morning (although that would be really nice). But by only asking for practical things, am I missing the point of what a gift is?
Gifts are given (should be given) without expectation of anything in return. They are given to celebrate people, to show people you care, to be a physical sign of your feelings for someone. And the best gifts are the extravagant ones. Not the most expensive, not the biggest box under the tree. But the ones that go above and beyond, the ones that mean something special. It’s not the generic Bath and Body works shower gel or Starbucks gift card, it’s something that says “I put time and effort and thought into this – for you”. Jesus’ gift to us was the most extravagant gift possible. I think in this season, to celebrate that, maybe we need to allow ourselves to receive extravagant love from others.
We need to let someone buy us that super soft scarf we really want, but don’t need. We need to let our friend treat us to coffee, for no other reason than they want to. We need to let our friends into our lives, into our hearts, because that’s why He came into this world to begin with. Relationship.