A silent snowfall. The crackle of a fire in the fireplace. The smell of familiar Christmas-season food. The sound of a family's chatter. Time to be fully present in the moment. Isn't that what most of us desire at Christmas time? And yet this season tends to be the most frenetic season of the year. And to top it off, the pressure is on to get the perfect Christmas gifts.
We all love to give gifts and see the joy on others' faces when they open the box. And yet, how often do we find those same gifts lying in the bottom of a drawer or closet within a month?
What if this year you could take some time to be still and intentionally design one gift to give to someone that would leave an imprint on their life? One that would lodge in their heart permanently?
To design a meaningful gift takes a little forethought and planning, but the excitement at the prospect of giving it more than makes up for the effort. And it may prove to be an easier task than you think. You just need to take these 4 simple steps.
Step 1. Identify the person to receive the gift.
Maybe this person is a spouse or one of your children. Maybe it's a parent or some other adult who has made a meaningful impact on your life. Maybe it's a co-worker or friend. Or maybe it's someone who desperately needs some encouragement during this season. There are so many options! Take time to be still and wait for someone's name to bubble to the top of the list, and be aware that those "should's" might try to dictate who you choose. Instead, give time for the Spirit to bring someone to mind.
Step 2. Pray about the message.
Take a moment to envision the big picture. In 30 years, what do you want them to remember? Is it a word of gratitude for the part they've played in your life, or a word of encouragement about the person they are becoming? What about a reminder of a special moment you've shared? Or do you want to impress on their heart something about God's character? Of all the lessons you've learned in life, what is one lesson that, if something were to happen to you tomorrow, you would want them to know? Take advantage of the fact that Christmas is a time of year when people tend to be more open to deeper, heartfelt messages.
Step 3. Brainstorm creative ways to convey the message.
Will it be an activity you do with them, or a gift you give to them? May you can design something that speaks their love language. In case you don't know or remember what the 5 love languages are, they include: 1) words of affirmation, 2) gifts, 3) acts of service, 4) quality time, and 5) physical touch/activity. (see for further information.) How about something handmade or a letter you write? Or a physical item that will serve as a reminder of something special? Maybe it's simply an intentional conversation when you can be together without interruptions. It doesn't necessarily have to be a physical item - just something that speaks deeply to them.
Step 4. Set a time to make it and deliver it.
If you don't intentionally set a time to design and gift it, you will turn around and Christmas will be over. Are you going to be with them on a certain date? How long will it take you to write, make, research, buy the item? You don't want to be frantically trying to design this special gift under pressure. It takes time for messages to become clear, and the joy of the process is one of the best parts!
As you begin to design your special gift, take time to reflect on the special gift God designed for us. From the very beginning of time itself, God had designed a special gift for you personally - a gift that would convey a message about what you mean to Him. And He spared no expense to give it to you because it cost Him everything, even His life. And with the love we receive from Him, may be we give that love out to those around us this Christmas season.