reflecting the giver: the theology of gift-giving

Topics discussed in this post:

  • the good Giver
  • well-done gift-giving vs. promotion of consumerism

I talked my desire to give meaningful gifts in my post “how to give meaningful gifts this holiday season.” Check it out for ideas on holiday and birthday gifts!

I care about gift-giving a lot. This doesn’t mean I spend an absorbent amount of money on my gifts. (I can’t afford that.) Nor is this a desire to avoid offense by giving bad gifts. I don’t feel pressure to give good gifts; it’s just that I want to give good gifts. I have this inward desire for my presents to mean something.

(Just so you know, this doesn’t equal to me caring about gift RECEIVING; if you’re gifting me something, please don’t stress because of this post, LOL.)

I have decided this is a good desire, and I know enough about God to know that He is the giver of good gifts. We see Him as a good giver all through out the Bible: giving a garden to Adam and Eve, gifting sons to many a infertile mother, food and shelter to hungry and tired Israelites, land flowing with milk and honey to His people, gifts of the Spirit to His people, etc. Here are some verses that talk more generally about God’s gift-giving abilities:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. – John 13:16a

I operate in a sub-culture that is especially aware of and constantly fighting the good gift against consumerism. However, though promoting greediness is against God’s design, showering others with good gifts is not. In fact, Jesus himself said that it is a blessing to give.

When done with the right heart, intention, and action, the giving of material things is not a promotion of consumerism; it is an expression of care, attention, and love.

There is a sense in which a gift, especially one that is thought-out, is an expression of “I know you, I pay special attention to your needs and desires, and I care about them.”

God knows us.

He pays special attention to our needs and desires.

He cares about them.

Here’s an invitation to see good gift-giving as an opportunity to reflect the ultimate Giver, who gave up His life that we might have it to the full.

In Him who gave,

Mary Madeline

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