The kind of Christmas gifts you enjoy change as you get older.
When I was a kid, I didn’t like getting anything other than toys. Socks, shirts, wallets, notebooks, pens – none of these things were important.
Toys were the only gift I really remembered and treasured. And books. Give me a book and I’d know you were my friend, unless it was a book already read.
Now that I’m older, I’m thrilled if I receive stuff for the house, the kitchen, clothes, or other things that I wouldn’t have taken a second glance at in my younger years. 10 year old me wouldn’t have recognized 30 year old me.
Funny how maturity changes the perceived value of things.
Which brings me to my favorite gift this Christmas. It was the night of the 25th and I was sitting talking with my dad and brothers about some decisions I had been thinking about for some time (like all of 2013). My wife was in the other part of the room talking with my mom and new sister-in-law. I don’t know what they were talking about, but our conversation was one of the most encouraging, helpful, and insightful talks I’ve had all year.
Suddenly, my dad blurted out (completely off-topic, but quite apt, which isn’t surprising if you know him), “I’m so glad your mom has friends in your wives. Look at them.”
As I thought about it, I can’t remember most of the material things I’ve received this year. The Batman comic from David is probably the most memorable. I’d be lucky if I can remember even 5% of the gifts I received last year, much less for the years before.
In short, the value of those gifts, while impressive in the present, haven’t really lasted through time.
But the relationships that lie behind those gifts, these are valuable. And they have actually grown in value over time.
Sometimes, like the 10 year old me, I pass over many things of real value because something else seems more valuable at the moment. I think something material is more important than the relationships in my life.
- Maybe I’d rather play a video game than talk to my wife.
- Maybe I’d rather get back home to watch my favorite TV series than interact with my family more.
- Maybe I’d rather hold on to my pride than say sorry or forgive and restore a broken relationship.
Whatever it is, it isn’t as important as the people God’s put in our lives. The great thing about this gift is it isn’t just unwrapped once during the holidays, but it can be enjoyed the whole year round. Cultivate healthy relationships with your family, friends, officemates (yes, it’s possible), and you’ll enjoy this wonderful gift from God all of 2014.
Don’t end 2013 on a sour note. Are there people who come to mind when you think about saying sorry or extending forgiveness? Why not do that in the last few days of 2013. It doesn’t have to be “the talk.” But start with baby steps – like their post on Facebook, greet them a happy new year. That could be the start of a renewed friendship.