By: Deb Weaver, The Word Weaver
A note: I’d like to introduce to you….Deb Weaver, author of this guest post and the poetic, lyrical, beautiful, thought-provoking, uplifting blog The Word Weaver. For much more, visit and subscribe to Deb’s blog here.
Be the Gift You’d Like to Receive
Some people may feel that manners are fanciful, unnecessary, deceitful, and fake. I disagree. Manners, courtesy, and generosity remind me of beautiful wrapping paper. They add a lovely touch to the real person.
I love a beautifully wrapped present. Pretty bows, colorful patterns, and shiny paper all make me smile. However, the wrapping is merely the introduction to the essence of the offering.
I’ve been thinking about gifts that I appreciate the most: love and grace. These things that I treasure tend to arrive at the times I desperately need them: when my stress stretches me thinner than the sheet of crackling ice on the sidewalk. They’re often wrapped in ways that enrich my life.
My Hubby is a giver at heart. He’s also a funny guy. It’s one of the things I love about him. His one-liners and the manner in which he delivers them grant me much-needed humor and perspective. Instead of reacting in kind to my crabby, critical tone of voice, he presents me the best part of himself in a way that makes it easier to respond back with my own best self. It’s a beautiful mystery.
Another example is when I’ve made a quick, unwise decision while driving and know I’m in the wrong. I try to wince and wave so that the other driver knows that I realize I’ve made a mistake. I so appreciate it when the offended driver responds with an understanding, forgiving wave (versus the other kind that I’ve also received!). It enables me to approach the rest of the day from mercy rather than from condemnation.
I don’t deserve the goodwill extended to me. And I’m grateful for these precious offerings.
If you and I desire these kinds of gifts, surely others will, too. This Christmas, instead of bemoaning the lack of consideration in our world, let’s give the world the benefit of our best selves. Instead of impatience, offer understanding. Instead of sourness, let’s spread sweetness.
Before we discuss specific ideas, I’d like to address the reality of our rocket-fueled society. What if we don’t have it to give? What if we’re drained and exhausted?
When I am depleted, I turn to Jesus Christ. He beckons us closer, saying in Matthew 11:28 (NIV), “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He knows, He cares, and He understands. We may spend time soaking in His love, peace, strength, and guidance — in fact, He wants us to do so! Only He can fill us with the qualities that we need to live and to give.
The Following Gift Ideas are Starter Suggestions
Timeless treasures for ourselves: Regardless of how pressed for time we are, we can’t afford to neglect these important priorities; if we don’t first take care of ourselves, we can’t love others well.
Perhaps we could:
Build margin into our schedules so that delays don’t continually push us over the edge (i.e., schedule fewer activities, plan more time in between appointments, etc.)
Take time to regularly thank God — THE Gift Giver. I daily jot down a list of 3-5 things for which I’m grateful. Won’t you join me? The items on the list don’t have to be monumental — we’re merely noticing the beauty of the now moments. Gratitude grows our joy.
Practice kinder inner thoughts. Instead of focusing on our failures, may we begin to notice and value the things we have done and the ways in which we’ve improved. Sometimes I remind myself aloud: “Yes, Deb, you’re lost. But look — you tried a new route! That’s an adventurous spirit.” Let’s celebrate our own baby steps!
Carve out a little time every day for activities that create joy within us (i.e., read a chapter or leaf through a magazine, listen to music, take a bubble bath, go on a walk, get a manicure, paint your nails, color or draw, etc.)
Stocking Stuffers for Others
Gifts of the heart can be life-changing and valued long after they’re extended. Let’s give of ourselves in abundance. Regardless of whether we relish the gift, let’s cherish the thoughtfulness that prompted it. May our gratitude exude like a beautiful fragrance.
Lavish friendliness and patience on an indifferent, slow-moving clerk. Could we inject a little gentle humor into the situation?
Respond to a harsh remark with understanding and a silent prayer for the other person. Peer past the situation at hand to the person extending it.
Smile genuinely at the employee cleaning up a mess and tell him that we appreciate his efforts. Everyone likes his work to be noticed.
Be aware of our tone of voice and the looks on our faces. We easily slip into critical, complaining, negative modes. We need to learn to be the thermostat rather than the thermometer; often, our tone of voice and facial expressions set the temperature. Let’s shoot for warm and charming rather than cold and harsh.
Whether online or in person, treat people who hold differing opinions, lifestyles, or beliefs with courtesy. Let’s go out of our way to appreciate and honor them for who they are. May we offer compassion and understanding like an umbrella that we share with someone out in the cold rain.
Know that others may not acknowledge or appreciate our effort. That doesn’t devalue our offering. Demonstrating love, extending mercy and grace, and treating others the way we want to be treated — even when it’s difficult — are precious, personalized gifts.
The First Christmas and This Christmas
After all, isn’t this what the first Christmas was all about? God the Father sacrificially giving His best, most treasured part of Himself — His Son Jesus — to a broken, harsh world. To a needy people mired in sin. Not to a deserving, clean, appreciative people — but to us.
In honor of that first and everlasting gift, let’s delight one another — and our heavenly Father — with the offering of our best selves.
A sacred gift exchange.
Deb Weaver is a compassionate communicator who is passionate about sharing God’s love, grace, and truth through both the spoken and written word and through genuine interactions. An avid reader and Packers fan, she also loves to write; she blogs at The Word Weaver. She and her husband are experiencing the unexpected joys of an empty nest in Green Bay, Wisconsin.