catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 23 :: 2011.12.23 — 2012.01.05


Giving well

I can see them now, stacked in the corner six feet high: presents of all shapes and sizes, anticipating being opened and enjoyed by children brandishing excited smiles.

This scene was Christmas at my paternal grandmother’s home until she retired and could no longer afford to celebrate this way. I was the first of five grandchildren, which provided ample time for spoiling before any others arrived, and my grandparents did a superior job. My grandmother was my day care, and I accompanied her on Avon rounds. When I got older I worked summers with my grandfather delivering ice cream.

In time, parents, brothers and cousins realized there was partiality going on. To squelch chatter, my grandmother gave me some of my Christmas presents early, keeping the stacks equal in height and number for Christmas day.

As a child, I relished this special treatment; as a parent, I recognize its pitfalls. Favoritism has unhealthy results: anger, quarreling, division. And quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality. So when my children arrived, we changed the tradition by keeping things equal and smaller. While I couldn’t control the grandparents’ giving (they have a habit of ignoring instructions), I could control mine.

Following God’s example, we’ve attempted to teach our children that giving is more significant than getting, size doesn’t matter and quality is more important. Sometimes the best gifts are wrapped in small packages. It was so with Jesus: “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

God could have showered us with gifts of prestige, possessions, continual good health, and anything else our hearts desired, but he chose to wrap his gift as a small baby. While petite, the gift carried worldwide implications. Quantity might impress children but God chose quality when giving his best gift. Considering a person’s needs and desires always leads to excellence in giving and far surpasses a thoughtless gift just so we can say we’ve given. Let God teach you how to give quality gifts.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus