I find pleasure in the giving of gifts, whether at Christmas, for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or for any occasion. However, with our family of eight married adults, 10 grandchildren, extended family members, long-time friends, and colleagues, my yearly gift list can number above 40 recipients. So finding creative, memorable gift ideas is becoming more important than a tangible gift to me.
Recently, I had a “light bulb” moment about three types of gifts that are for all genders, always appropriate, and would yield lasting pleasure through the years.
- The gift of Unconditional Love. I am a woman of faith that firmly believes in the Bible’s description of unconditional love: Real love is patient, kind, hopeful, and endures time and circumstances. A love that is not boastful, rude, or resentful. The gift of unconditional love can cover a lot of misunderstandings, or when one feels neglected, unappreciated, alone, or lonely. The gift of unconditional love keeps giving. (See 1 Corinthians 13.)
- The gift of Forgiveness. This gift is life changing for the giver even if the recipient never accepts or even changes. Forgiveness says, “I give up my rights for revenge.” I now experience joy and peace that replaced years of bitterness and anger due to my stubbornness to forgive those who hurt me deeply. The withholding of forgiveness does not benefit anyone. I have learned not to be a self-made victim, but a victor. It is a refreshing gift for you.
- The gift of Friendship. As a maturing woman, I have found over the years and seasons of life that a true friend nurtures meaningful relationships. The friend who is there at the bedside when illness or grief rocks her world. She sets her mind to serve the friend—maybe with a meal, help with household chores, carpool, by enjoying a “chick flick” to relax and be silly, a sweet greeting card of encouragement just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” She may keep a “cash-kitty jar” of pocket change to help a financial need or to buy that weary mother something just for her. A friend lends a listening ear, shoulder, or handkerchief when life seems disappointing or when a beloved child is wayward, without a word of condemnation. She is the friend that will outlast any season of life with renewed commitment. As the hair grows whiter, the body more fragile, or the mind a little distant, her gift of friendship thrives.
I still give gifts, but they are more inclined to reflect a heartfelt attitude of value and appreciation for the recipient.