I can speak from experience when I say that whenever Christmas comes along, I never know what I am going to give to my family. The only thing that is guaranteed is that I am going to be spending money.  Spending money during Christmas is a given, no matter who you are, you are going to be spending money in the hope of buying that ‘perfect’ present. The sad thing is that we often end up spending money that we don’t even have.

A few years ago whilst working at a book store, this problem became quite apparent to me. On a daily basis people would come in and purchase books, as Christmas presents, but insisted on using their credit card and putting the amount on over a budget period. Now for those of you who may not know, the budget period refers to the ability to pay the outstanding amount off over a period of months, instead of having to pay it all up front.

But why? Why spend money you don’t have on a gift that will one day get old and eventually have no use?

I think that realistically there are two reasons for this, the first being the pressure that is put on us by the media and shops to buy the biggest and best gifts, but most importantly I think that it comes from a place of wanting to be valued, and in turn, loved.

For some strange reason we have this mindset that the more expensive the gift, the more the person receiving the gift will love us. Now I’m not saying that they don’t already love you, but rather, that we see our gift as a visual representation of our love. In some crazy way, we would rather be in debt and have the bank chasing us, than give what we may see as an insignificant or inexpensive gift.

But what if the greatest gift we could ever give didn’t have to cost us anything, what if we already had access to it?

This Christmas let’s not get it wrong, let’s not lose focus on what is important. It doesn’t matter what gift you give, or how much you spend. What really matters is that we love, not because of what we can get, but rather because we know what we have already been given.  We have been given an opportunity to love and be loved unconditionally by a God who made us and whose only desire is to have a relationship with us.

Love is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive, and it’s free! So this Christmas let’s embrace love, and more importantly, let’s embrace the one who first loved us, Jesus.

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