Monday, 10 December 2012

The Perfect Christmas Gifts List .

The annual shopping  spree for Christmas gifts for ourselves and others , is usually a pleasurable pastime. 
By now, most people have drawn up their Gift List for this Christmas
 and  New Year celebrations.  Some people have even bought and wrapped their presents already.
Maybe your List is not yet "perfect", just a tentative one , to be made "perfect "by more additions and subtraction , even at the last  minute before Christmas.                    
For most  people , it takes a lot of time and soul-searching  for them to decide who they  will include on their Gift list  and who gets which gifts.


Each giver has the prerogative and the power to choose recipients of  his or her presents. 
A typical Christmas gift list would contain  names and gift items for family and friends, for church ministers and members , neighbours , bosses, colleagues , acquaintances and the poor and needy.
Economic considerations and "politics " do come into play in peoples' minds as they begin  to ponder on the " hows, what , ifs , who is who and the whys " of   
There is indeed an element of "politics" in gift giving.because the deciding factors for giving  gifts  to others ; not only at Christmas , are as numerous as our preferences are different .
So , for reasons best known to the giver, some people who were not on our list last Christmas , will be there this time around and some who were on our Lists  last  year  will not be there this year .

 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself ".Proverbs 11:25 .

Love , passion , friendship,  reward , goodwill , forgiveness, gratitude , compassion  are some of the driving forces which would aid us in making up our Gifts Lists.
Also malice, hate , anger , unforgiveness,  tit-for-tat , indifference and thoughts of  "why should I give this person anything?" ; would be the deciding factors leading to not having any qualms whatsoever about leaving out some names from our "perfect " gift lists.
For some givers , who gets what would depend on their emotions and on the value they  place on their recipients .
It is a fact that  men and women would go out of their ways  to ensure that the women and men dearest  to their hearts get  the best  and the most expensive gifts , not only at Christmas , but always.
 Parents would try  to hide their feelings , but it is a fact  that their favourite children or  best-behaved children , do get the best gifts .

Ironically , those who have it all already ; people of high standing in the society who do not need gifts from anyone are the ones who get the greatest  number of  very expensive gifts and greeting cards .
Why? Rather than give to the poor and the NOT important persons , people prefer to give gifts to persons of high status and great influence in the society because they believe that  retaining the "useful friendship" of  such persons and sucking up to them , is the best PR necessary  for their own .success .

Giving is an art which is made perfect by Grace.
As such , the Perfect Gift List should not  be based on selfish criteria or ladder-climbing desires 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive ".
In the area of our emotions , we should ask for grace to overcome the politics and carnality of  drawing up our Perfect Gift List , which is not in line with the desires of the Holy Spirit..
Therefore, in addition to the names of our loved ones and "useful " members of our social / business circles , our Gift List should contain names of  needy persons who we know are  unable , either in cash or kind,  to reciprocate our kind gestures.
The poor and needy have an Advocate and that is the Holy Spirit who lays it upon the hearts of  mankind to reach out and bless the less privileged , at all times , especially at Christmas .

The other side of the coin of giving is that we should give wisely.
Even more grace is needed  to guide us not  to sow to the wind by giving to everybody, anyhow.
Giving to the wrong  persons , wrong places and wrong Causes would bring serious problems and regrets into human lives.
Wisdom in the Word of God  and from hindsight  would prevent us from repeating  the foolishness, and regret of our misplaced generosity in the past .
It takes the grace of  God for a human being to rise above emotional and other considerations to give without expecting any thing in return ; and  one would need even more grace  to give anything  to persons who from hindsight , one would , rightly, categorise as " users and wicked ingrates".
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet,and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7: 6.

All sorts of specially printed "begging/asking" Christmas letters and envelopes have been received by millions world-wide, already. People would say anything to get donations at Christmas because they know it is the season for joy , for giving and for goodwill and as such  many  people are willing  to give now.

Some nations and individuals have given huge amounts to charitable organisations at Christmas period because they were told such donations would be used " to do the work of God by preaching the Gospel, or to alleviate the sufferings of victims of poverty, hunger, diseases and epidemics like Cancer and HIV-AIDS;and natural disasters like drought, floods ,tsunami, earthquakes , fire......" 
 Only for the generous donors to discover, later on, that the largest chunk of their generous  donations have been diverted to the personal bank accounts of terrorists organisations, corrupt government and charity officials and selfish Church ministers. 
 "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple ".
Romans 16:18.

Ungrateful and discourteous persons.who could not even show the least courtesy of saying  the simple words "thank you " , for the time , efforts and gifts they have been given are "fire extinguishers" . Some ingrates have taken the art of their ingratitude from the level of  not even bothering  to say, "thank you " , to the highest  level of wickedness ; even to the extent of  harbouring envy , ill-will and plotting the downfall of their benefactors.
In order to cause problems for their helpers, because of envy , some ingrates have, secretly, spread lies and sent malicious reports against their helpers to the friends , bosses and associates of  their  helpers who have made their lives better and sweeter .
Such are the mind-frame and rantings of ingrates: "Just imagine! Who do they think they are? Even before we ask them for money, those people in that family are very arrogant ; always showing off by giving us huge sums of money and other gifts , even more than we were expecting ! They want  to show everybody that they have money , that they are better than all of us. They have too much money isn't  it ? O.K.! 
They will see .By the time we finish dealing with them,  the very source where they are  getting  their "show-off money" will dry up. Then let's see how they can  insult us with their useless gifts!".

 God is merciful and gracious , forgiving iniquity  but He  remembers  and  He hates ingratitude.    
"So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:15-18.
God says ungrateful persons are "tempters" who deserve His wrath and destruction . Exodus 32:9,10 and Jeremiah 15:1-3.

God says "Vengeance is mine ; I'll repay".
 He does avenge , adequately , against all liars and  ingrates.
God will avenge but the giver's  part is to be discerning , to watch and pray, in order to avoid the devices and snares of the Devil and his agents .
If the Almighty and Merciful God could feel so strongly about ingratitude , how  much more mere mortals?
 "To err is human , to forgive is Divine" , if you don't forgive , you will not be forgiven. Remember you are a Christian! You people say you go to Church!"
These are fine words indeed which could fall on deaf ears in most cases, due to the extent of ingratitude .
Sometimes, no amount of preaching or begging  for forgiveness or appealing  to the "Christianity " of persons who have been wronged , repaid evil for good would pacify them When a human being has given  selflessly and generously  to  people on numerous occasions and then those same  people turn round  to repay the giver evil  for good , it would be an uphill task for  those same persons  to receive anything from that giver , ever again.

Discouragement from past  mistakes of giving to ungrateful, dishonest  and corrupt persons  should not  make us  hardened against  the cries of ALL  the poor and needy. 
"Do not be weary in well -doing " Galatians 6 : 9-10.
Deciding on a blanket ban against giving anything to anybody  again would be unfair  to those who are genuinely deserving of our help .
Identify the guilty and channel your giving  to those who deserve it.
This is the Season when we celebrate the Peace and Goodwill that God brought  to the earth through the birth of the Jesus Christ , our Lord and Saviour..
The Unconditional Giver has given us reason  to rejoice , to give  and receive wisely and abundantly.
Against all odds and discouragement , we must not  be weary  in doing good.
Do not give up on human beings. We must continue to give liberally , but wisely.
May the grace of God enable us to continue to give generously  and to order our lives along the paths of wisdom and peace during this glorious season . Amen
Merry Christmas and a glorious New Year. 

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