Christmas From the Heart
A devotional by Emily Kropidlowski
It’s only 16 days til Christmas!! *Cue rosy cheeks, snow covered ground, jolly smiles, and… the frantic search for the perfect gifts. Isn’t it kind of sad that we stress over what gifts to give rather than enjoying the people we love and being thankful?
Christmas is especially one of the best times to remember what Christ has done for us.
I’m not trying to be cliché in saying that we should focus on Christ this Christmas season. God truly has given us the greatest gift in sending His Son to die on the cross! Even though we are sinful, God sacrificed His own SON. He wouldn’t give that gift to someone He didn’t love! Please don’t forget that Christmas truly is about Christ.
Well, on the topic of good gifts… we compiled a list of heartfelt gifts in hopes that you will use these ideas when giving gifts this Christmas. So read on and be inspired. 🙂
- Prayer. Praying for someone is the absolute best gift you can give them. In this section, I’m talking about giving the gift of committing to pray for someone. One year for my friend’s birthday, I gave her the gift of prayer by spending an hour in prayer for her on that special day. That might sound CRAZY and REALLY HARD, but if you break it down, this gift is totally do-able. First, make a list of specific things to pray for the person. Here are some options: their school, their future choices (college and career), their walk with God, their future spouse, and their family. There are so many things you could pray for just one person! You can even pray through Scripture for them. I prayed through Proverbs 31 for my friend by praying after reading each verse that God would make my friend more like that. You can use lots of different verses in Scripture to pray for someone. Another helpful tip is to divide your prayer time up throughout the day. For example, 15 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, and 25 minutes right before bed. During this time, sit alone in a quiet place, just you and God. This will allow you to focus while praying for the person, rather than get distracted.
You can also make a commitment to pray for someone in other ways. You can commit to pray for them every day for 30 days, or 3 times a week for a month. You have the freedom to decide! Just remember, this gift is a commitment, so make sure you are serious about following through. One final note: this gift should not be used to show off. It is meant to be a special gift between you and that person and God. Hear what God says about prayer in Matthew 6:5-8:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Emphasis mine)
- Handwritten letters. As clearly shown above, meaningful gifts are the best. One of the things I treasure most in life are well thought out words. When someone writes me a letter and points out specific things they appreciate about me, I feel so loved. When I graduated high school, a good friend of mine wrote me a letter. She thanked me for being a good example to her of Christ and not backing down on my convictions. Wow! At that point in my life, I was looking back at my high school years and felt like I didn’t do enough to love others and be an example. She encouraged me so deeply when I was starting to doubt if I made a difference. What a sweet gift you can be to someone by pointing out their strengths! You can build them up with words in ways you can’t do otherwise.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
- Song. This is such a fun gift! One of my dear roommates writes songs for people often. If it were a spiritual gift, she has it! This is very similar to writing letters to someone. It is using your words AND musical talent to encourage them. If you are a music fan, this could be one of the most fun ways to show someone that you love them and one that they will never forget (especially if the tune is catchy!). If writing a song sounds too challenging, try a poem… or a rap! Whatever your personal style is, show it in the gifts you give this Christmas.
- Art. When I was a kid, we always made cool art projects for gifts at school. One time we made a little bird on a nest, another time we did funky paintings with cool paper. They were super fun to make, and honestly.. pretty easy. If you are not the crafty type, this may not be your thing and that’s okay too! However, there are so many artsy things you can make without having to have much skill. I know because I am not super skilled with crafty things, but I have made some cute gifts this way. If you search “easy craft gifts”, you will find a whole list of things to choose from. Craft on!
- Quality Time. Along with words of encouragement, someone spending quality time with me is another way I feel most loved. When you are willing to give up your time for another person, it shows that you truly value them. I gave my friend the gift of quality time by going to paint pottery together. I paid for hers and we were able to catch up for a few hours while we painted. It was a great way to do something fun, get a keepsake out of it, and talk with my dear friend. I recommend this gift, especially because it is an experience you will remember, not just a product.
- Coupon books. No, I’m not talking about giving someone a grocery store ad. I’m talking about coupons for sweet things that you will do for them. Here are some fun coupon options:
-Free night of cooking dinner
-3 free coupons to take out the garbage
-Free lawn mowing
-10 free hugs
-Free night of babysitting for your younger siblings
-Free batch of cookies
-Free day to spend with them and do whatever they want to do
Choose to make coupons for things that would make them feel loved. Make this coupon book cute or fancy… go all out! This is a very sweet gift and the person you give it to will be able to tell that you put effort into it. Just make sure you are willing to do all those tasks when you are asked!
- Homemade food. Mmmm. Food. 🙂 I love getting treats from people, especially cookies! Food is a fool-proof gift because everybody has to eat and I would venture to say that most people like to eat! I don’t believe this needs much explaining… my only caution is to make sure you know a person’s food allergies before you make them a delicious snack. It shows that you care about the person if you are aware of their needs.
Well, I hope this list has given you a good place to start and a little inspiration for your Christmas gift giving. Most importantly, give the gift of love this year. That was what God gave us in Christ that first Christmas.
James 1:17 – Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.