“Christmas is not your birthday.” I saw this quote on a local church’s billboard this week. Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought about the why in the gifts at Christmas. Why do we receive gifts on Christ’s celebrated birthday? Does it stem from the gifts of the three wise men? Are we trying to replicate what God gives us by giving to others?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give gifts at Christmas time, but it made me really ponder why I need things under the tree for myself. I expect if some of my family members read this, they would think that I’m just trying to be a Grinch and I don’t want to buy them anything. That is partially true, when I know that they are well taken care of financially and want for nothing material. Every year, my family asks for my Christmas list and I search my brain for things I want….rarely ever need. Why should my family spend their money on me? It would be much better spent on gifts for others.
Why should I and others that have so much, take during this season? I think about all of the money that is spent on Christmas presents. That money could go to supporting so many more families, to feed them, clothe them and to improve their quality of life. In the post from A Holy Experience, I saw that a four year old boy understood it was odd that we receive gifts on Jesus’ birthday. If you looked at any other normal birthday party, only the birthday person receives gifts, with the occasional party favor for the guests. If my family members ask this year, “What do you want for Christmas?” my response will be a gift for someone else.
Here are some places to give if you want to do something different this year: Compassion Catalog, Samaritan’s Purse Catalog, Partner’s International Catalog, World Vision Catalog, Gospel for Asia Catalog, Mennonite Central Committee Catalog.
I welcome any thoughts or reasons on why we should receive gifts ourselves, maybe I’m missing something. Apparently there is a book titled, “Christmas is Not Your Birthday.” I may need to check it out. The author is Mike Slaughter.