Let’s Give Gifts

While it might seem self-serving, I hope you give me a gift today. I hope to give you one.

Since, I was a kid, I have loved receiving gifts. This is part of what made December such a great month, even though there was a lot to not like about ­December. It was cold outside, so I couldn’t play as much in the woods. I was off school for two whole weeks, so I didn’t see my friends as much. The trees went from beautiful to sickly (you could even call them “stickly”) and the creek was too cold to explore. I would often be dragged along on my mother’s shopping trips, since she didn’t trust me enough to leave me at home. Despite all of that, December was always fun because I knew I was getting gifts.

Birthdays were even better, because then I was getting gifts and no one else was. All the attention was on me. I even think I received better gifts on my birthday than I obtained during December. I guess my parents were ­better at picking out gifts than good ol’ Kris Kringle.

This is why I think God is clear to command us to give “gifts” to one another. The gifts I’m talking about did not happen because there was a special family-focused, or family member-focused day. They are to be given every day, all day long, at all occasions, to all people.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (­Ephesians 4.29). Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4.6). But as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you -- see that you excel in this act of grace also (2 ­Corinthians 8.7).

In each one of these passages, our speech is told to “give grace,” “be gracious,” and “excel in this act of grace.” We know that grace is “unmerited favor” or “an ­undeserved gift.” When we speak to one another (or about one another), we should be focused on giving gifts with our words. Or maybe this is easier to understand from the receiving end. When I finish speaking with others, they should feel as if they have been given something ­wonderful. They should be encouraged and uplifted. They should be feel better. They should have confidence in my character, because of my speech. They should see my faith. They should hear words appropriate to the ­occasion. They should feel properly responded to.

Don’t you love talking to people when they make you feel like this? And as Jesus states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This hectic and chaotic season, be determined to give gifts of speech to everyone you interact with. Encourage and embolden them. Maybe even interest them in the Bible or in Jesus. This gift will be more appreciated than anything that comes in with a bow.