From the Pastor

give-good-gifts

Tis the season for gift giving. As we prepare for Christmas, we have an opportunity to shower our people with good gifts. Our culture, and the marketing machine, may entice us to buy random gifts with a sense of obligation or extravagant gifts that quickly go out of style. There is an alternative. Giving good gifts that honor our faith and our people.

Our own gift giving follows the example of the Magi, the ones who traveled from afar to bring good gifts to the new born king.   In the Gospel of Matthew we hear, “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11). Now I’m not suggesting that you give Grandma some nicely wrapped frankincense or little Johnny a lump of myrrh. But I am suggesting that we can learn from the gifts they brought.
Here are three ways we can follow the gift-giving strategy of the Magi:
 
Gifts that honor good.  The first gifts were an offering to God, in honor of Jesus. You might give an offering to a charity in honor of your loved one. Select a charity with ties to who they are – like Keagan’s Kitchen (an organization that prepares healthy meals for children) for the foodie in your life or the Houston Arboretum for the nature enthusiast in the family.
Gifts that are meaningful. The Magi’s gifts were not random, they were intentional – Gold that was costly, Frankincense used for worship and Myrrh that represented the suffering and death Jesus would encounter. Take some time to give meaningful gifts. Maybe a rose bush for your mom, to replace the one you demolished playing basketball as a kid. Or a nice bottle of wine to be shared over a meal you prepare for a sibling or friend.
Gifts that are a sacrifice. The magi brought costly gifts from the East, traveling rough terrain and directly disobeying King Herod.  You might sacrifice your time and resources to make a gift by hand. Or maybe you have a family heirloom that a sibling or cousin has always coveted. Giving of yourself is sacrificial and most often yields even more in return.
Think of it this way, the Magi brought gifts to Christ; the gifts we give honor Christ in our family and friends. So whatever you do, do it on purpose.
prepare room.
Pastor Jen
Check out ELCA Good Gifts for some excellent options: https://community.elca.org/elcagoodgifts
OR: SERRV International for beautifully crafted Fair Trade items: http://www.serrv.org/