Looking for the right gift

How to navigate one's way through this year's gift-giving trends

ONE NEED ONLY look at the Cabbage Patch doll phenomenon of the early 1980s, the talking Elmos of the 1990s, and today's Pokémon craze, to see that parents and children are often carried away on pressure-driven marketing currents as Christmas approaches. There's nothing like shopping at the last minute for a popular gift that is only available in limited quantities. It is anything but a joyous, peaceful time. Fear of disappointing a child, or even an adult, can leave one vulnerable to all kinds of desperate tactics.

No matter how extreme the pressure may be, there is a spiritual perspective that can broaden what look like limited options, and ultimately meet any need. In fact, unless we step back and get this better perspective, we won't really accomplish what we so much desire: to bring joy to someone we love. Instead, we'll end up worn down and empty-handed.

What we're looking for is the gift that is just right. Consider this: in his poem, "O little town of Bethlehem," Phillips Brooks describes the humble, quiet presence of the Christ in human hearts as the best gift, the wondrous, ever-appearing gift from God to us all. He writes:

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Dear Diary
November 29, 1999

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