The Best Gifts Come From the Heart

Amidst the rush of Christmas time decorating, shopping, parties and wrapping up gifts (along with all those end-of-year tasks), we can be distracted from the real reason for the season: the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God sent us His son so that he could teach us, inspire us, and eventually sacrifice His life to us. We see examples throughout the New Testament of how Jesus did this. And at Christmas time in particular we can follow His example – endeavor to be more Christ-like – by preparing and giving gifts that don’t have a price tag and can’t be purchased on Amazon: gifts of the spirit, of the heart, of sacrifice.

Jesus found so many ways to help so many people. Think of when he took five loaves of bread and two fish and made enough food for five thousand people (Mark 6:30-44). What a miracle and a gift. While you likely can’t perform miracles, you can help those less fortunate. Contribute to a food drive, and encourage others to do so. Volunteer at a shelter, food pantry, or other non-profit. Share your lunch with someone who left theirs at home. Instead of teasing a fellow student for forgetting theirs, offer a pencil or pen. In small and large ways, we can be generous of heart.

Jesus is also the ultimate example of forgiveness. He forgave a woman known to be a sinner who poured oil on his feet and wept in repentance (Luke 7:36-50); a paralyzed man stricken with palsy who, after being forgiven for his sins, was able to walk home (Luke 5:18-26); and a woman accused of being a
sinner who was to be stoned until Jesus intervened and forgave her (John 8:1-11). We can follow Jesus’s example. Have you been holding on to a grudge or grievance? This Christmas season, why not give a gift to yourself and the person who wronged you by just letting it go? Forgiveness is a gift from the heart that far outweighs any gift bought with money.

Jesus taught us that the best gifts come from the heart, borne of love, compassion, and forgiveness. They don’t cost anything but they make us, and the world, a stronger and better place. That’s the real reason for the season.