The Tyranny of Giving

By Weldon Tisdale, Chaplain

There is a wonder about Christmas as well as a tyranny. There is a wondrous briskness in the air and a rosy glow on the cheeks of early shoppers. There seems a purposefulness in those in the stores, though the planned buying lists of “Thanksgiving Friday” shoppers disintegrate into a mad frenzy by December 24th. Just grab at anything that Uncle Fritz can smile at when he unwraps it, even though no one can think of anything he really wants or needs.

The season also imposes its tyranny on many of us. Instead of being able to give out of thoughtfulness and love, we often give because it is “expected.” I heard of one couple who had 85 people they felt obligated to remember with a gift. No wonder the joy of giving falls away to a sort of panicked despair.

So, the question I ponder is – Can we give cheerfully and thoughtfully this Christmas?

Only through cheerful giving can we emulate the great “gift” of Christmas, Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, KJV

Jesus Christ the true “gift” gave Himself completely to and for us. While giving is important, it should not overwhelm or overly stress us during this season when Christ should be the focal point.

And so, God gave, not reluctantly or because He was forced by popular opinion, but because He loved. No store-bought gift would do for those He held dear; it must be home-made. Nor was His choice of “gift” an optional trinket for the “man or woman who has everything.” He gave the only possession that we did not have and really needed. He did not give a thing or object. He gave Himself – a costly “gift” in the extreme. A gift so expensive that many never comprehend His true worth in their lives. Herein lies a Christmas mystery. Only by opening the first “gift” may we truly comprehend the real significance of giving and receiving. May this season not capture us in its tyranny but release us in an eager cheerfulness to give.

Adapted from

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