It was not my birthday.
It was not my wedding anniversary.
And it wasn’t Christmas.
Just a regular Sunday.
It came in an envelop. It was a gift from a friend. A magazine with a blazing caption - For Women and Those Who Love Them, called Effectual.
I was amazed at the quality of the content and presentation of the magazine. The theme of the edition I was given was Relentless Pursuit. I read it from cover to cover. I was encouraged, inspired with hope and challenged to pursue my dreams.
The style resonated with me. I was not satisfied with just reading it. I had to do more. I wanted to be associated with the work the team is doing.
One thoughtful act. One precious gift. It became a catalyst for a chain of events. Opened many windows of opportunities. Birthed new, rich and vibrant relationships.
I was overwhelmed and touched to the core as I read the current edition of Effectual Magazine - Open Brokenness this week. I was reminded of the act of giving that spurred all of these. The gift that made the difference.
I have been blessed with many precious gifts.
Some gifts came in wrappings but many more just simply could not be wrapped.
This is what giving should be all about - making things happen for others and touching lives for good.
Christmas is just around the corner and it is the time to share gifts with family and friends. As is the case with many at such a time like this, our minds are working overtime trying to figure out what gifts to give who.
It got me thinking. Our gift giving at this season should not be an act of routine, because it is expected of us to do so. It should be intentional and purposeful, with the desire to add value and make a difference to the life of the receiver. Our gifts should be thoughtfully and prayerfully selected.
We should desire to give gifts that will be useful to the receiver or will meet a need. This is where the help of the Holy Spirit becomes needful. I want to be guided by Him as I select what to give my family and friends this season. I want to give gifts which will have lasting impact.
There is another type of gift that is important to consider. That is the gift of quality time and attention we give to the significant people in our lives during this season. This gift makes a huge difference by deepening our fellowship with one another. It makes our relationship richer and more vibrant.
We must exercise caution so that we don’t get carried away with the busyness of the season - cooking, entertaining guests etc. to the extent that we become too exhausted to spend quality time as a family. This is an important reminder to me as well.
Beyond our regular list of persons to give gifts to, it is worthwhile to consider others especially those who can not give back to us - those for whom Christmas is bleak without the help of someone willing to spread the cheer of the season towards them. Let us remember what the season is truly about - goodwill toward men.
Let's take a moment to consider the channels available to us through which we can reach out to those in need and give them a gift of hope. There is a blessing in giving to others.
As we approach Christmas and the end of 2012, I look back and recount the many precious gifts I have been blessed with. The gifts, which have made a difference to my life, are truly beyond count. Above all these gifts, I am so grateful for the gift of life and breath.
For God so loved the world that He gave His beloved Son as a gift to us. The gift of Jesus is a proof of God's indescribable love for us. This is the greatest gift anyone can receive - the gift of life and salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus so loved us, He gave up His glory and came into the world to live among men.
What can we give back for this most precious gift ever given or received?
I found the answer in Proverbs 23:26 - "My son, give me your heart…" Give your affections to God, love Him with all your heart, soul and strength.
In addition and as an act of gratitude for the most precious gift we could ever receive, let us make our gift giving this Christmas—heartfelt, meeting needs and touching lives for good—gifts that makes a difference.
I am grateful to God for each of you who visit this blog from 52 countries, the last time I checked. You are a blessing to me. And your visit made a difference. Because you read and share the message from here, I am encouraged to keep doing what I have been called and gifted to do - to be an encourager.
May the joy of the Lord overflow in your hearts and home this Christmas and beyond.
The Effectual Magazine is available on Magcloud