It's December, and that means it is time to begin thinking about the giving of gifts! How many people are on your list this year?
Have you set a budget that includes the cost of the gift, wrapping paper, bows, nametags and even the expense of mailing the gift? It all adds up, doesn't it?
Gifts, whether tangible or intangible, always cost something. Some gifts cost money while other gifts cost time, attention or creativity. There is also the type of gift that requires intention, and sometimes the intentional gift is the hardest of all gifts to acquire. Intentional gifts are not always found under the Christmas tree of life, but they often spring from a commitment to discipline and to fruitful living.
I have decided to intentionally add myself to my gift-giving list this year! Although you might initially believe the decision to give gifts to myself is greedy, it is actually a very unselfish decision. I am determined to intentionally give myself the gifts of grace, hope and peace this year for Christmas. I might also add to my list of intentional gifts the bestowment of joy and kindness, and then place my own name on the gift tags!
I need to give myself grace for the times I make mistakes and more grace for the times that I say the wrong things to people whom I love dearly. Grace is the gift that keeps on giving because when I offer grace to myself, I am then able to give it to others.
Another gift that I am in desperate need of is the gift of hope; hope is guaranteed to walk me through the difficult times in life. I refuse to become a hopeless member of the human race, and therefore I must offer hope to others time after time after time. I must be a beacon of hope in a world gone mad; my thought life and my speech must be seasoned with the hope Christ has offered to me. I have discovered it is impossible to live without the endowment of hope—it's at the top of my Christmas list this year!
I also need the peace that passes understanding that will fight off the worry and anxiety that often try to invade my world. His peace just might be the most eternal gift that I can give to myself this year or any year of my life. Peace ushers out fear and obliterates uneasiness. Who wouldn't want peace this year? I need the sweet peace of the Father in abundance!
I need to be kind to myself, but more than that—I need enough kindness to share with others. The kindness that is part of my emotional makeup should be generous, exuberant and enthusiastic. I should have such a rich deposit of kindness in my life that it splashes out of my heart unto the barren lives of others.
I hope I am not asking for too much, but the final intentional gift on my list of self-endowment is the gift of joy. The problem is, most of us look for joy in all the wrong places—we falsely believe that we will find joy at the mall, in a box of chocolates or maybe in a trip to Disney World! Joy can only be discovered in His presence. So, this year, I will give myself the gift of more of Jesus; I will spend time marinating in His presence where there is always fullness of joy!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol has written 11 books, including Significant, StormProof and Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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