We meandered through the toy aisle at Target as each of my girls searched for the “wow” item they would place in their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. By the time we had chosen those items and found ourselves choosing crayons, colored, pencils, and then toothbrushes, and soap, Charlotte quietly said, “I wish I was keeping these things.”
My firstborn, Audrey, who always works so hard to say what she believes adults want to hear, replied, “I am thankful for what I already have at home.” I didn’t respond immediately as I was still pondering my response for Charlotte; so, Audrey was sure to repeat herself twice until I confirmed hearing her.
“I’m glad you feel that way, Audrey. You know Charlotte, it is really good that the things you are choosing are so special that you would want to keep them yourself; that means they will really bless the little girl who receives these gifts. And, you know what else?”
“What, Momma?” she said, still quietly
“It is okay for it to hurt to give them away–it means we really are making it an offering to God.”
And, mommas, as Christmas lists are being written, Target toy magazine pages are being dog-eared and marked with circles, Black Friday ads are being released, and we’re figuring out what we will get for the teachers this year, I want to encourage my heart and yours, it is okay for it to hurt to give.
Yes, giving is a joy — watching the face of someone as they open a tangible expression of your love for them is precious. But, our gifts to our friends, family, coworkers, bus-drivers, & mail-carriers, are really expressions of love and gratitude to our Father–the giver of all good things. And, King David reminded us not to offer to the Lord that which costs us nothing (Read the story in 2 Samuel 24). So, be a good steward; follow the Lord’s leading as you make a Christmas gift-budget, but be willing to sacrifice and hurt a little as you present a pleasing offering to your Father who gave you His best gift.