- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On December 13, 2017
- 58 Comments
Christmas is fast approaching and many people are shopping for gifts. But there are two steps to buying a gift, I believe. The first, naturally, is being able to set aside money for this. It’s not the amount that matters for with the way the economy is going, saving even the smallest amount is a near impossibility for many. But somehow, we usually scale that first hurdle.
The second step, which I consider more crucial, is choosing the right gift. Picture this: Stella’s friend is getting married on Saturday. After work on Friday, she dashes into a shop and picks up a wall clock for the couple. So do a sizable number of others. I doubt that the poor couple will have enough walls to hang all the clocks and framed posters coming in.A gift that is carelessly chosen may not be useful to or appreciated by the receiver. Click To Tweet
It’s the same with Angela. Her friend has just been delivered of a baby. She gives the family a plastic baby bath. But it’s not their first child and baby baths last and last. So they won’t be needing this one for a few years yet, that is if they ever do.
We can multiply the scenarios but the lesson is the same. A gift is most appreciated when it can be put to immediate and frequent use. This brings to mind a young man who bought some books for his elder sister. When he came to visit some months later, she complained that she had been unable to read most of them. They were simply over her head and failed to speak to her needs at the time. Doubting the correctness of her assessment, he tried to read first one, and then another, without success. He hadn’t even browsed through before buying them. His Parthian shot was, “Not to worry, you’ll grow and catch up with these books someday.” That may be so but meanwhile, the books gather dust on the shelves and the paper inside develops unsightly patches.
The best way to avoid the foregoing is to thoughtfully choose our gifts. What does that mean? We should take time to consider the receivers, their circumstances and dispositions. We can even ask them to verify our conclusions.
It’s true we love to surprise people in these matters but where’s the value or the joy in the surprise when we’re so often off the mark. The real danger in asking the receiver, however, is in his or her sense of modesty getting in the way. Insist on getting only honest answers. And if you’re afraid they’ll make a steep demand, disclose the amount you’re willing to spend.Where's the joy or value in surprising people with gifts that are far from what they need? Click To Tweet
(Related: Giving Brings Unparalleled Joy)
But if you object to this approach, you have an even better option. You can pray and have God guide you into choosing the perfect gift. Remember He gave us our Saviour, Jesus, the best gift we could ever ask for.
“C’mon!” you say, “How can you bring God into something as trivial as giving a gift?”
But He longs to participate in every facet of our lives. And it’s in the details of our lives, in the most ‘secular’ of our endeavours, that we can hone our skills in hearing from Him and relying on His infallible judgment.
How can I be sure of this? Because that’s what I do. I ask Him whenever I want to please someone beyond words, for you see, He knows the receivers even better than they know themselves. Perhaps, you want someone to let out a whoop of delight this Christmas:
“Just what I’ve been praying for. Tried to get it a few times but never had enough money. Bless you, bless you, bless you a million times!”
“Where in the world did you find this? I’ve searched all over for it and given up . How wonderful that I have it at last, thanks to you! Bless you ….!
Now you know what to do. Meanwhile, have a fun-filled shopping time and a very merry Christmas.
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2017
This article was originally published in my book, Feature Writing Simplified, under the title, “What I want for Xmas”. This is a slightly edited version.
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