“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? How about the greatest one you’ve ever given? Can you come up with your top three? Is there a common denominator?
More often than not, when I ask people these questions, they generally answer with memories of gifts that:
- were not expected
- were ones they (or the other person) really needed but wouldn’t have suggested
- showed that one person was thinking about the other, and understood them
- were not necessarily things, but often experiences
- were sacrificial on the part of the giver
That’s how I would describe my favorite gift ever given.
I grew up in a modest income family, but with parents who splurged on us every Christmas. Whether gifts or homemade candies and cookies, Dad and Mom did everything to bring joy to our household at Christmas. Sacrificially. Wonderfully.
But, that Christmas of 1972, we were struggling.
Life for my parents had changed dramatically a few months earlier. I left for my freshman year of college and my older sister got married and moved to Taiwan with her husband. Mom and Dad, who had poured everything into their kids, were adjusting to an empty nest.
When I returned home for Thanksgiving break, I could tell it hadn’t been easy for them. Our usually spirited household was quieter than normal and our conversations were often nostalgic. Someone would be missing this Christmas.
That’s when I realized it was my turn to be the sacrificial giver, with a gift they would never ask for or expect—but one that would mean everything to my parents.
On that Christmas night, Mom and Dad would open my letter saying this year it was about them. That in 20 minutes, they would receive a prearranged and prepaid long distance call from their precious daughter. At six dollars a minute and as your typical broke college student, all I could afford was 10 minutes.
I will never forget those 30 minutes and the sea of emotion that filled our living room. Hands down, it was my best gift ever, and possibly theirs.
This season, we focus on what I consider to be history’s greatest gift—
a son given to us sacrificially by our heavenly father… an unexpected gift that means everything to this world… from a Giver who knew exactly what we needed.
Is this the year for your greatest gift? What will it be—and who will receive it?
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
Dennis Trittin and the LifeSmart Team