These all came together in my mind and heart yesterday and I thought I'd share them with all of you. I've been thinking about things I can give that don't cost anything and this is what God brought to mind. So here are four gifts that can be given this holiday season (and beyond!) and you don't even need your debit card.
The Gift of Grace
For yourself. For others. I think I am hardest on myself and expect more out of myself than maybe I should sometimes. Maybe you are the other way around. Whichever is the case, we all could use a little more grace. Yelling less. Loving more. Encouraging your husband. Appreciating your wife. Focusing on your families good qualities instead of the annoyances. We all have been extended more grace than we deserve.
The Gift of PeaceYa know that grudge that you've been holding onto for far too long? That fractured relationship that could use some mending? The seed of bitterness that has started to take root? This gift is so easy to imagine, but so difficult to execute. Maybe it can start with just a turn of the heart; going to that family gathering planning to be peaceful despite what comes your way. I am working on this gift myself.
The Gift of Joy
There has been so much recent pain in the lives of people I know. Grief that I know all too well. One of my favorite verses has been Deuteronomy 30:19 where we are told to 'choose life' and I suppose I kind of equate that 'choosing joy' since the word life feels so arbitrary to me. This could be simply getting out of bed and getting dressed. It could be deciding to smile more. Dusting off His Word that has been laid aside for far too long. Choosing to focus on 'life' instead of on 'death' or whatever has been lost. Joy is a gift that we must choose to give ourselves and will overflow into the lives of others. (In other words, if Mama ain't happy, nobody ain't happy!)
And last but not least....
The Gift of Hope
Hope is such a powerful thing. I know I've said this before, but I just like to say it a lot: As long as there is life, there is hope. Don't give up, look up. Whatever it is you are facing: an unhappy marriage, a desperate job situation, the loss of the life you thought you'd have, a broken spirit, God is our hope and with Him all things are possible.
I don't say it often enough, but you are all gifts to me. Your friendships. Your comments. Your companionship along the road of life.
Which gift do you need the most? I think, for me, it's hope.