I absolutely love giving gifts at Christmas! I love it more than opening gifts for myself.
When I was growing up, my parents worked with the youth group at my church. One of my favorite memories of this time of year is going with them and all the youth to Walmart or the mall to Christmas shop for a needy family(ies) from our town. I loved going around with the "teenagers" when I was little and helping them pick out clothes and toys for the children. After shopping, they would all go back to my house to wrap presents and eat lasagna (as Melissa reminded us last night!) before taking the gifts to the family(ies).
When I was in college, we didn't really have a youth leader at our church, and I sort of fell into that position and had youth group. This tradition of shopping for a needy family continued and was so fun and rewarding. Fast forward and most of the youth went to college (I was only a few years older than most) leaving the gap between their age group and the younger kids.
It's been about two years since I've shopped for a family, and this year, I had the opportunity to help two.
Last week, I received an e-mail from someone about a family of four children that wouldn't be having a Christmas. I have wanted to do something to help someone this Christmas season and was about to get a name off of an Angel Tree at the mall when I got this e-mail, so I adopted one of the kids anonymously and PC and I went shopping! The little boy is 7 and into WWE. Me, I'm not so much into anything like wrestling nor do I know anything about it, and I haven't ever really been around little boys until PC's adorable nephew, so I was lost. Luckily, PC works for an entertainment venue, so he's seen his fair share of wrestling and knows about the popular wrestlers, so we got him some wrestling things, a game the family can enjoy together, a puzzle (for some reason, I've bought quite a few puzzles for gifts this year), and some clothes. This weekend, we wrapped up the gifts at my house and I took them to be delivered Monday.
My Sunday School class also adopted three children this year. Last night, a few of us met to shop for this family of three sisters. We bought them each several outfits, pajamas, and socks and toys and games. We wrapped them all at my house after and are going to deliver them tonight or tomorrow. It's so rewarding to watch children who weren't expecting to have a Christmas at all open gifts from strangers.
Christmas really is all about giving. I know I've said it over and over, but I feel so guilty about the sheer amount of gifts under my tree for people who have anything and everything when there are people all around who have nothing. One year, I'd like to adopt a whole family and instead of buying so many gifts for my loved ones, spend on those that truly need things. Giving doesn't mean only material gifts, but giving of ourselves- our love and our time.
It's important that we remember about the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, all year long and not only at Christmas time. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and remember the true reason for the season!