Preparing for Christmas has been easier since my kids have gotten older. Now, instead of a hand-written gift list, they have a “wish list” registry on Amazon, that everyone can access, purchase, and remove the gift from the list once it’s been purchased. I work from home and generally have everything delivered to my home these days, from my medicine, to my groceries, and, most definitely, my gifts! Me and the UPS driver are on a first-name basis.
In all the busyness of living life these days, I appreciate the efficiency, ease and simplicity of online shopping and home delivery. Amazon is truly amazing, in how it has streamlined online purchasing with its “one click” purchasing option. However, in my most recent Amazon gift-purchasing experience, I must admit, that I initially felt a little uneasy–and guilty—about even letting my mouse hover over this specific option.
When I saw it, my mouth literally dropped open in amazement—okay, it was disgust, really…but then, when I took my mouse for a little jog around the site, the idea kinda grew on me. I then removed my hand from my mouse and loudly exclaimed “No! Omar! Shame on you! Have some self-respect. Come on! Do it yourself!” What vile and distasteful scene had I seen on that website that had caused me to have such a visceral reaction of: anger, disgust, and self-righteous indignation? Simply put: Amazon will deliver your gift to the person for whom you purchased it (that much is a given), but for a little extra dough, they will also perfectly wrap it up in beautiful and stylish wrapping paper–and even include a personalized, printed note with said gift. Don’t judge. I know that, you, are, at this very moment, logging on to your account to learn about this service.
Outsourcing Your Gift
According to the career website, Zippia, Personal Shopper salaries have increased 18% in the last 5 years. Unbelievably, there are over 66,549 personal shoppers currently employed in the United States. And, if you’re looking to get into this career, there are 357,097 active personal shopper job openings in the US.
After my recent gift-purchasing experience I began to doubt my own sincerity and “buy-in” (pardon the pun) related to how well I wanted to be involved in this particular experience. With this one final act, Amazon had finally found a way to totally disconnect the individual from their heart, when purchasing a gift for someone else. Gone are the days of only the ultra rich hiring someone to pick, purchase, wrap, and deliver that special something for that special someone. Now, all you need is an Amazon account and you, too, can feel fancy.
Isn’t it amazing, then, that Jesus didn’t outsource His gift; He cared enough about us to make sure that He gifted Himself. What a God! What a love!
“‘For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him’ ” (John 3:16, 17, NLT).
When Gabriel, the angel, first informed Mary what would happen, he clearly instructed her to name her child a specific name:
“ ‘And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ ” (Matthew 1:21, NLT).
The name “Jesus” in Hebrew literally means: “God saves.” Imagine how Joseph and Mary must have felt every time they heard the name of Jesus in conversation, knowing the reason behind the name. They probably marveled at the fact the whole time. As a father of two, I can attest that witnessing the birth of any child— especially yours — is life-changing. The Bible is very real in that it records Mary’s initial response to this unfolding reality, “ . . . but Mary kept all these things [the unique manner & circumstances of her child’s birth] in her heart and thought about them often” (Luke 2:19, NLT).
A Great Idea!
I think Mary had a great idea! In this season, where gift-giving can easily become automatic, thoughtless, impersonal, and blasé, take some time to keep all these things in your heart and think about them often—“what things”, you ask? Of course, the unique and intensely personal manner and circumstances of the birth of Jesus. Today, and every day, set some time aside to keep these things in your heart and consider them deeply. Remember how God loved us, you and me, enough to do the dirty work Himself.
Today, take time to thank God that He loved us all enough to not outsource humanity’s Gift of Salvation, but to wrap Himself in our sinful flesh and come down to this stinking earth to be “ ‘. . . wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger’ ” (Luke 2:12, NLT).
What a God! Merry Christmas!