Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Giving

During the First Presidency Christmas Devotional earlier this month, President Monson mentioned that he reads "The Mansion" by Henry Van Dyke every Christmas.  I'd never heard of it or ready anything by Van Dyke.  I was intrigued.  So I hopped online to reserve a copy.  But our library doesn't carry it.  Boo.  But they did have several other books by Van Dyke.  So I reserved a few of them.  I loved one of them (Story of the Other Wise Man).  Two of them were kind of boring to me (The Spirit of Christmas and The Van Dyke Book).  And one of them(The First Christmas Tree and Other Stories) contained a wonderful little essay called "Christmas Giving and Christmas Living."  I loved it.

Van Dyke talks about Christ as a gift giver.  He says:

"The great gift of Jesus to the world was himself.  He lived with and for men and women.  He kept back nothing.  In every particular and personal gift that he made to certain people there was something of himself that made it precious.

"When he gave bread and fish to the hungry multitude...the people were refreshed and strengthened by the sense of Jesus' personal care for their welfare as much as the food that he bestowed upon them.

"The gifts of healing that he conferred upon many different kinds of sufferers were, in every case, evidences that Jesus was willing to give something of himself...Jesus thought before he gave, because he desired to satisfy the deepest need, because in fact he gave something of himself in every gift.  All true Christmas-giving ought to be after this pattern. 

"Not that it must all be solemn and serious.  For the most part it deals with little wants, little joys, little tokens of friendly feeling.  But the feeling must be more than the token; otherwise the gift does not really belong to Christmas.

"It takes time and effort and unselfish expenditure of strength to make gifts in this way.  But it is the only way that fits the season."

When I think of the true meaning of Christmas gifts, I think of the supreme gift of the Father to give us His Son.  And I think of Christ's selfless gift of sacrificing His life for us.  But I hadn't thought of the gifts the Savior gave throughout His life.  And I appreciated this new perspective on Christmas giving.


carmar76 said...

So true! Thank you for sharing this story, and perspective! I loved reading it! : )

Megan said...


The Oregonians said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

carrie said...

Thanks again for sharing this with us!