As the holidays approach, my email in-box becomes saturated with invitations to take advantage of buying new stuff. Every well-known retailer has an online presence, and with excellent marketing skills and imagination, they stimulate a successful buying response.
Gift buying takes center stage during the holidays as people strive to express heartfelt love, gratefulness, and appreciation to others. Sometimes these efforts get short-circuited since the person(s) who received the gift may not have liked it, needed it, wanted it, or maybe they even re-gifted it.
Far too often, all the hoopla about gift-giving becomes ritualistic, and these well-intentioned efforts feel like they have been drenched in cold dishwater. Perhaps we would experience greater satisfaction in expressing our gratitude if we altered our perspective on gift buying and instead invested in gratefulness of the heart.
Gratefulness is an attitude. It is not about a once-a-year holiday. It is a 365-days a year commitment.
First, it expresses gratitude for what we have, which may be different for each person:
Gratefulness also expresses what God has done:
Equally important, it expresses thankfulness for the blessings we have received from others:
Reaching the heart of the person(s) you want to gift will convey gratefulness in unique ways.
If you send a card to someone to let them know you are thinking of them during a non-holiday season, this will affirm gratefulness and unconditional love. If you pay a visit to someone in an extended care facility during a non-holiday season, you bring the gifts of joy and hope. If you attend a family dinner that is likely to be contentious, bring flowers. It adds sensitivity to the family mix.
When we convey gratefulness, we reflect the Spirit and heart of God. We are models of God’s grace. There is nothing within humankind that earns or deserves grace. It is a gift from God.
Gratefulness is a gift from you or me absent of payment for its expression. Buying gifts during holidays may be unavoidable, but if you wrap your gift in gratefulness, this will surpass the value of any tangible present you may purchase.
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