I am “gift challenged.” This is especially true when it comes to getting something for my wife. My experience assures me that I am not the only man who has this problem. Most men dread the task of looking for that “perfect gift” for their wives. We men fear that whatever we wind up getting her will probably be the wrong size or the wrong color, or just something she would never want.

There is at least one other way many of us who are Christians are “gift challenged.” We–who are called by Christ’s name–often only give Christmas gifts to our friends and loved ones–just like the rest of the world. We say that we give gifts during the Christmas season to celebrate the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ–the God-man who came to this earth to die and take the punishment that our sins deserve. We know that in Jesus Christ God gave us eternal forgiveness. There can be no greater gift. There should be no greater celebration!

Let’s spend a moment thinking about how we’re celebrating, though. When we give to those close to us, expecting that they will also give us something in return, are we really giving the way Christ gave to us? When God gave His gift of forgiveness through Christ, He did not expect anything in return from us. The Bible makes it clear that we are not even able to do anything on our own to please a holy God. The Apostle Paul, as great as he was, knew he had nothing of value to give to God. Paul explained it this way, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me” (Romans 7:18). God gave Himself for us knowing that we had nothing to give Him in return. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Real love is giving without expecting anything in return. If we want to reflect the way God gives gifts, we need to give the way He gives. Jesus said, “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35). “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9).

Jesus even told us to apply this principle when we decide who to invite over for a meal. “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12-14).

Christmas is a wonderful time of giving. If you love Jesus Christ, though, don’t just give to your friends and family. Look for ways to give to those who can’t give anything back to you. That is how God gave us THE perfect gift–Christ Jesus who died on the Cross to pay for our sins.

This Christmas do some giving God’s way. If you have a neighbor who is lonely, spend some time talking or invite that person in for a meal. If you know of someone who is struggling to pay the bills, think of something you can give to them. You could even leave your gift on their doorstep, ring their doorbell, and leave before they open the door.

If you have given your life to Jesus Christ, then you already have the best gift anyone could ever have. “… If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32). This Christmas we who have received His gifts ought to try harder to give as He gave.

From our church family to your family, may you have a Christmas filled with God’s blessings. Merry Christmas!