Wednesday, December 15, 2010
And a partridge in a pear tree...
(image taken from here)
I know the song is the 12 days of Christmas and we are 10 days out from the day itself but this song has been on my mind ever since I lost the final Jeopardy question for our youth group team last Sunday night. I couldn't remember how many maids-a-milk, swans-a-swimming or any other thing besides the partridge, lucky bird. (here is the list if you need a refresher yourself).
So in order to redeem my caroling status and to share some thoughts, I thought I might share 12 out of the ordinary type gifts that I have been reflecting on. It all started with Ryan's post earlier this week about struggling well with the balance of what Christmas should look like (I especially like his conclusion about mistletoe). But more seriously, I do think it is important to take a moment or two to keep our perspective about the shopping, the decorations and busyness. Or as my favorite author tweeted this week:
"My grown-up thought for today: If this season feels crowded/frantic/shallow, my choices allowed that to happen. And I can make changes."-Shauna Niequist
With those thoughts, I give you my 12 gifts of Christmas list, thinking outside of the box about what we can give others this year.
1. grace. after all, His mercies are new every morning.
2. the benefit of the doubt. Who knew that the Subway girl today making my toasted tuna with honey mustard with the sleeve tattoos was going to be so polite and awesome?!
3. a second chance. if you believe a relationship or situation is worthwhile, give it your all and allow it surprise you.
4. hope. whether it be to pursue a dream or just to keep going another day, let's not hold back from giving one another the gift of hoping even in dark times.
5. your words. in written form by poem, letter or song, tell someone how you cherish them or what they do that you appreciate everyday.
6. a good book with a personalized note. I love when someone takes the time to think about what I might enjoy or believes in something they have read so much that they want to share it. That book for me this year was The Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore.
7. Your time. Carve out an afternoon for coffee & window shopping, a dinner in cooking together or breakfast at your favorite cafe. I know it is old school but I love the idea of receiving a "coupon" for a date with someone I love spending time with.
8. tickets to an event you know they would enjoy & free babysitting for the night if they have little ones.
9. A gift in their honor to an organization you know they believe in. Erich & Ryan decided that the three of us would do this for our gifts to one another this year and I love them for it. I can't take any credit but have a few ideas about organizations I believe are making an impact:
Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids, providing meals to kids who otherwise don't have consistent food.
Under the Fig Tree, an organization our friend Brad is a part of that equips leaders and continues to walk with people on their faith journey.
There are SO many more, choose one that blesses the person you are gifting and I know they will be so touched to know that instead of giving them a new scarf from the Gap, you gave someone a meal.
10. a homemade gift. It can be a set of glass ornaments that you fill with something fun, a stack of homemade stationary tied with a ribbon or whatever your specialty is but a homemade gift always shows the time and energy you were willing to put into something.
11. A photo book from Shutterfly, Snapfish, whatever online photo site you prefer. So many of us take so many digital photos and never take the time to print them out into a form we can enjoy them in. You may have to get sneaky on this one to upload your loved ones' photos or you may have some but I think everyone enjoys preserved memories of a cherished family vacation, a wedding, a new baby or just a year in review.
12. And finally, a partridge in a pear tree. I had to add that one!
I hope you are finding yourself encouraged in this season amidst the parties and holly and even stealing a moment under the mistletoe- a gift to both involved!