Giving to those not in need

At Christmas time, we hear so much about giving to those in need. And we should. We should absolutely be giving to those in need at this time of year and all year round.

I read a commentary about the Christmas story the other morning and it really stuck with me.

We all know the baby Jesus was given expensive gifts by the Magi when he was born. Yet what good were these gifts to him really? Did he really need them?

Well, some hypothesise that these were used to pay the way for him and Mary and Joseph as they fled from Herod’s decree to kill all boy children under the age of two.That’s just a theory though, and I’m not sure I subscribe to it.

What if he didn’t need those gifts at all? What if they were given simply because of who he was and the fact that the Magi knew he was a king and so deserving of gifts such as these?

I know people who base their gift giving on what a person needs. And that’s all good and well – we shouldn’t be wasteful and spend money on things to give to people who don’t need it.

Right?

But what if we should? What if the purpose of giving a gift is to honour that person? What if giving a gift is more about saying to that person ‘You are valuable. You are worth bringing wonderful gifts to’? What if their ‘need’ is none of our business? What if we should just give to people anyway, regardless of how much they do or don’t have?

Jesus really didn’t need gold, perfume, or spice, so why bring gifts to him at all?

We give gifts because of what it says about the person we are giving to. We give gifts to show our love and the value we place on them as a person. We shouldn’t not give to someone simply because it looks like they don’t ‘need’ it.

They may not ‘need’ it in terms of material possessions but they may ‘need’ it in terms of feeling loved, valued and thought of.

What do you base your gift giving on?

 

12 thoughts on “Giving to those not in need

  1. I agree with you that gifts to those we love are as valuable as to those ‘In need’. I’m sure even the wealthiest people need to see the love or respect others feel for them, and though it can be shown and said in many ways, a gift chosen with care can also do the job. We don’t have to spend a fortune, just choose with care. I always try to go for something I know the person has an interest in but if I can find fun and quirky I like that too. I have asked an author to sign a book for me to give before now and am fortunate enough that a reader asked me to sign a set of mine and send them directly to his father with a card from him. Whether he read and enjoyed them or not I don’t know but getting a parcel from the UK may have been enough.
    Though I’ve never been a fan of gift-tokens since I’d rather choose something as a gift, they do have a place in allowing the recipient to know you care enough to let them choose their own gift.
    Yes, we should help those who have little or nothing as much as we can, but a gift given in love to a family member or friend can do so much for their self esteem too.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    • Exactly my friend 🙂 I tie myself in knots sometimes making sure a gift is what someone will love but I still love hunting for just the right thing. I love giving someone something that I just know is perfect for them!

      How wonderful to send off a set of your signed books to a fan! I’m sure he loved them and the touch of a parcel from the UK would have just been icing on the cake.

      I hope your Christmas is wonderful and full of lots of thoughtful gift giving xo

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  2. Some of the best gifts to give anytime of the year are: respect, honesty, understanding, forgiveness… compassion. These go above and beyond anything money can buy. These are the gifts most remembered every day of our lives. Given freely to all, for they were given freely… to me. * heart*

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    • Absolutely agree…it’s a pity they are seen as gifts though, instead of a basic human right. May we all be givers and receivers of all ‘good’ things – both materially and spiritually, for, as you say, we were freely given to, so we should freely give. 🙂

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  3. A few years ago I was working in a mental health facility and had a number of families with young children on my caseload. At Christmas, I was delighted to be able to take bags of toys to each of these families in need. Only one family thanked me, two asked me if that’s all there was. I recognize that poverty sometimes includes poverty of spirit, poverty of life experiences, and depending on charity is all some families have ever known. But how do we make sure that “those in need” are ones we want to help? Are we “helping” to salve our consciences, are we “helping” and hoping for a great show of appreciation? Maybe we need to answer those questions first. Perhaps there are other ways to help.
    My suggestion is that we find a family in need and help them all year long. Do they have children who cannot afford or have no transportation to scouts or sports teams or church programs? Can we offer help in that way? Are grandparents or single parents raising children without any family support? Can we offer to take one of their children with ours for an afternoon or to the zoo or some activity they would otherwise never get to attend? If we look around us, surely we can find people who are desperately in need. As we get to know them, we will understand their needs and be in a better position to help them at Christmas. It is definitely worth the effort!

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    • Yes, I guess being able to give, regardless of the response is what we all should aspire to. It makes it harder, though, doesn’t it, when it’s not appreciated. And yes, applying gift giving as a year long thing rather than just at Christmas is certainly a big way we can help others.

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  4. It’s a good point – that giving is a two-way street, that in giving something from our heart – we receive.

    That said, I try to give to a need of the heart, rather than a practical need (though if the recipient’s situation is dire, groceries can be the best gift of all). The one thing I try to avoid are gifts that are simply pro forma expressions of the duty of the occasion. In that case – better to give money. At least it’s honest.

    Another example of a ‘luxury’ gift is the oil with which a lady massaged Jesus’ feet, much to Judas’ ire. Did Jesus need it? No. Did He enjoy it? Yes.

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    • Yes, I hadn’t thought about the perfumed oil incident, which further emphasises my point. Gifts that show little thought are worse than no gift at all in my opinion. It is all about the heart, as you say – both ways, for the giver and the receiver.

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  5. I guess I give gifts depending on the person. For instance, I’ll give my mother a gift she needs (foot massagers for her arthritis), but give gifts to my kids based on what they want (dolls or Legos). I often wonder about gifts that are totally about necessity (think a new vacuum cleaner for the wife). Sometimes, I think they are given more because the gift-giver thinks they are needed, whereas the recipient is not as thrilled. Not so sure that those are given in the true sense of gift-giving.

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    • Yes, I agree – I completely banned ‘household’ gifts some years ago. Not that my husband did it very often but I just can’t stand it. It screams “I have put no thought into this”.
      The heart is the important component in all this, isn’t it?

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  6. Admit – most of my holiday gift giving is fun stuff. Games, toys, cool stuff (I am the MoMo, and must give fun stuff). And then I also give books, toothbrushes, and fuzzy socks. Throughout the year, and in between posts and stuff, I also remind my patriots that there are so many of our family, friends, and friends of friends, who are overseas, serving their country (that’s my “cause”). I give to those that need it, those that really need it, and those that don’t need a darn thing.

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