Gift giving to the ones you love and care about is probably the most fun part of Christmas for me. I participated this year in another ornament swap with other Arkansas women bloggers. The administrator of the site takes all the participants’ names and addresses and gives them out randomly to us all. The catch is that the ornament has to be hand-made. As I went to my recipient’s website to look at her tastes I discovered she has an entire page for crafting! That means she knows how to craft and seems to be quite good at it. I had to laugh as she will be getting something made by a lady who is excited about it, but maybe not quite as crafty as she is.
As I was perusing Pinterest looking for an ornament idea, I came across a quote that stood out to me. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete”. We are lovers of gift giving.
We generally spend a lot of time making sure everyone is happy with their gift. Often in the shuffle we leave ourselves out. This is not only at Christmas, but all through the year. We give and give and give. And that’s good. It’s just part of us. But at the end of the season we are often worn out and done in. We’ve given it our all and there’s nothing left for us.
God began to speak to my heart: You can give yourself gifts too. In fact I AM the greatest gift giver ever and I have incredibly wonderful gifts that you can appropriate for yourself. You need gifts and you can enjoy them not just at Christmas, but the whole year through. Give yourself a gift or two or three. But these gifts are special in that you have to give them to yourself with the same gusto you have when you give to others. You have to do it. I have appropriated the gifts but you must allow yourself to receive them and enjoy them. If you do, you will find that your gift giving is more complete. Write your own name on your to do list, for I have written your name on My heart and My hand.
What are these gifts you say? Oh precious one, give yourself the gift of rest. That’s right. It’s okay to rest in fact it’s best for your body, soul and mind if you get plenty of rest. It’s not spiritual to stay frazzled and worn out. Rest in God’s promises, rest in His assurance that He will make things right and good for you even if everything is not done. Give yourself the gift of peace. It’s there for you as God gave it all. Remember He said, “Peace I give to you.” Peace is harmony in the midst of turmoil and reconciliation in the midst of imperfection. We need that peace don’t we? Then there’s contentment. I can give myself contentment? What a gift! That is a satisfaction that brings serenity to our hearts. As you give yourself that gift you will find you can relax and let things be more fun than duty. There are more gifts. As you spend time with the Lord and look into your own heart you will find your most needed presents and give them to yourself liberally without holding back. Joy, blessings, honor and more.
Oh beloved, the greatest gift you can give yourself is to love yourself as God loves you! I know, it’s almost unimaginable, but it’s your gift, hand made by the Father. He delights in you allowing the love of His heart to flow over your entire life – your heart, your mind and your spirit. This love gift you give yourself allows you to be all God intends you to be. The gift will take you farther than your wildest imagination because it allows you to take all the gifts God has for you. As you take time to learn all about the gift of love and you let yourself be loved by God, you will find that all the momentary distractions, nuisances and weariness will melt away.
This love of God, beloved, is the gift that will keep on giving long after the lights are down, the tree is thrown out, the wrapping paper is discarded and Christmas is gone. Once you experience letting yourself receive God’s love you will never want to live without it again. His love is extravagant. His love will make your heart soar. His love is like a mirror that reflects your true beauty in Christ.
What wondrous gifts the Giver of Life has prepared for those who love Him. Whatever you do and wherever you go, open the word daily and read all about the gifts you can give yourself. Then take your gift of love with you and see how it changes everything from your feelings of worth to your perspective on life. Rejoice in the gifts and remember that God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can enjoy giving yourself every good and perfect Gift He has for you.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Psalm 62:5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him (NIV)
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.