What you can give at Christmastime

"I dread Christmas shopping!" a friend told me not long ago. Now, this friend is Ebenezer Scrooge. He just doesn't like to fight the holiday crowds, search endlessly for the right gift for everyone on his list, and stretch his budget beyond the breaking point—only to see his friends and family later exchange the presents he had picked out so they can get the things they really want. "I feel like I'm defeated before I even start," he said.

Beyond my friend's frustration at the commercialism that sometimes hangs heavy over the holidays was something deeper—a longing to get at the heart of what giving at Christmastime really means. Maybe he felt that the true significance of Christmas calls forth a special type of giving—one that's pure and holy, one that lies way beyond presents and wrapping paper.

Angels at the bedside
December 6, 1993

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