I spend 363 days a year trying to control the "stuff" in my house. I watch my kids play with 25% of the things they get as gifts. If you are reading this and have been a gift giver to my children, please don't take this the wrong way. We are so grateful for such gifts...my boys love having a fun new toy. But the buzz usually only lasts a short time and soon that latest action figure or Tonka truck quickly finds it way to the back of the shelf too soon forgotten. What stays fresh in front of my children's eye sight though is this... time. Not the hour hand clicking by second by second, but the minutes spent with them. The undistracted time spent gifting them with love...and laughter...and action...and patience...and joy...and an experience. A gift that they tuck into their heart and can't open on Christmas morning, but all year through. This gift of time is not found in the glitter and the lights as you roam the stores looking for the perfect gift. It's found right where you are already. You are here. So give your time to the ones who matter the most.
A mountain of gifts under the tree doesn't make me feel more loved. Doesn't make me think "this is Christmas". I gather my children will look back some day and think the same thing. They won't remember the gifts they opened from a box, but rather the gifts they participated in through their childhood. The time they spent opening the gift of sharing a life together.
In a culture where companies hit the black this time of year, but people's souls dip into the red, why wouldn't we invest in something more for our hearts? Instead of spending every other day of the year trying to keep up with the stuff that consumes our homes, why not keep up with the little feet running ahead of us and walk along-side the bodies that need a hand, not another thing to fill them up? Wouldn't we benefit from spending our resources on a place that leaves an imprint on someones life, rather then leaves a debt to be paid in our mailbox every month? Can we see past the glitz and black Friday's deals and holiday shopping lists and really look into the souls that we are trying to buy the perfect gift for? Can we find the time to really give what is needed, rather than give what will be forgotten as soon as that tree comes down?
I am slowly being lured into the Christmas tradition of giving less in the eyes of my culture, but in doing so...giving so much more in the eyes of those on my gift buying list. I will be playing Christmas music soon, watering a freshly cut tree in my home everyday, baking little stars and jingle bells, placing coins in the red buckets, attending parties, and most of all... I hope I will be making the time to give the gifts that really matter. Won't you join me? I have always loved giving gifts. But the best gift givers in my life are those who have given me their time. I want to keep that tradition more then any other this time of year...
(photo courtesy of http://annielockhart.typepad.com/gallery/)