Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping craze. Americans will spend nearly $500 billion on gifts for friends and family this holiday season. There’s no way to begin to total the number of hours spent examining store shelves and browsing online sites trying to find the perfect gift. The gift exchange is an engrained part of our cultural identity. If we don’t overextend ourselves, it can be a wonderful way to celebrate and bring joy to those we love.
I want to remind you of something that you already know: some of life’s most important gifts cannot be found on a store shelf. This holiday season, I hope you’ll remember some of the things that matter most.
What spiritual gifts are you giving your family? Don’t take me too literally here; I’m not asking if you’ve bought a Bible for everyone in your family. I’m asking if you’re investing in them, not just buying junk for them. Remember that Jesus said we should lay up treasures in heaven, not just on earth (Matthew 6:19-20). Perhaps as we shop for Christmas gifts, we could think about the other kinds of gifts we leave our families.
Have you given your children the gift of a Christian father? Not just a guy who shows up to church, but who is truly a follower of Jesus? Have you given the spouse the gift of your presence? You have chosen to intentionally spend time with her, paying attention to her and turning off the TV and the phone. Have you invested in creating experiences and memories and opportunities to grow as a family or with your friends? Or are you just going to buy another iPad?
I love my toys—but the gifts that will last are the eternal ones. As you shop for fun Christmas gifts, don’t forget to spend some time searching for ways to give spiritual gifts, too.