What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Maybe it was from a family member, a friend, or even your significant other. It could have been anything—jewelry, a book, a gift card… The point is: when you think back on that time, do you remember the gift itself, or do you remember who gave it to you?
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older (I’m not yet sure if that’s a good thing or not), but I’ve started thinking more and more about what it means to give—and receive—gifts in our lives.
And here’s something you should know: You are the gift.
I don’t mean to suggest that the act of giving isn’t important. But sometimes we forget that what really impacts our lives is being present with those around us. When we’re present with someone else and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we give them something that can’t be bought in any store—the opportunity to feel genuinely heard and understood by another human being.
As a child, I remember putting together my Christmas list. I was excited about Santa coming and leaving my two-story Barbie Dream House under the tree. I played with that doll house about two or three times after Christmas day and then promptly forgot about it. When we are children, we don’t think about the sacrifices and stresses that come with gift-giving. My parents worked hard contributing to that Christmas savings account to buy those gifts. I didn’t have a job or money at 6 years-old, but my parents didn’t expect a present from me because I was the gift.
It took me about forty years to realize it, but my presence is the present.
Once I figured out what my love language was, I began valuing quality time and acts of service more than receiving gifts. When someone shows up for me, it means the world to me. Losing my husband in 2019 taught me that time is our most prized possession, and it is the one thing we cannot buy or get back. Life is short, and I want to enjoy as much time as possible with the ones I love.
I decided to teach my son this early. He’s 7 and, of course, he will get most of the gifts on his wish list, but he will also appreciate the gift of presence. There are so many beautiful memories that we shared with his dad, and he misses him dearly. I do not doubt that the time spent over those four short years was the best gift he received. Even though I am grieving, I show up for my son every day. That is the gift of a mother’s love.
When I think about the qualities I possess and share with others, especially my son, it allows me to see that I AM the GIFT.
Graceful—I have dealt with life’s trials with ease and confidence. My grace allows me to be transparent and to help others along the way.
Inspiring—If I can inspire one person to keep going, my pain has turned into purpose. When someone is motivated, they can become a gift to someone else.
Faithful—During my most difficult times, I learned to trust God and remain faithful. With my faithfulness comes obedience. I’ve become a servant leader.
Thankful—Scripture teaches us to “give thanks in every circumstance.” I am grateful for the opportunity to be present, and I don’t take anything for granted.
We all have different talents and God-given gifts to share with others. So, what do you give someone who has everything? The answer is simple: YOU.
What is your God-given Gift, and how will you share it this holiday season?