“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) This is probably the most quoted verse in the Bible and is often used in Christmas sermons. Recently Cindy and I (Steve) had dinner with some friends when the husband made the statement, “God loved, and God gave. God’s definition of love is ‘give,’ how can I do any less in my marriage?”
I believe this message is so profound it has the power to change the atmosphere in our homes this Christmas. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t give physical gifts to each other this Christmas. But we are challenging you to consider a “different gift of giving,” as well. Below are a few suggestions to get you started (some come from the book, Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman).
Giving Beyond Ourselves
First, GIVE each other the gift of Quality Time. We know this is hard, especially during the holidays. But just 30 minutes alone to read a few verses of scripture and pray together can center your love where it needs to be. [NOTE: If love equals giving, repeat this after the holidays as well. We suggest at least once a week.]
Next, GIVE the gift of Acts of Service. Husband’s, ask your wives, and wives, ask your husband’s, “What can I do for you to help take some of the pressure off of you right now? Where can I pitch in and make a difference?” Whenever I do this for Cindy I can see her countenance change. She knows she doesn’t have to bear the burden alone and the tension is then lessened.
Giving Words of Affirmation is a great gift, too. It’s so simple to do and can have a profound effect on your marriage. Simply tell your spouse how much you love and appreciate them. Then affirm that they are the greatest gift in your life. This simple act can melt away tension, too.
To take this GIVING to an even deeper level lets look at a practical application of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
“Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Commenting on these verses, Jay Sklar, Ph.D. (Two Becoming One), said:
“This puts a whole new perspective on the meaning of the words, ‘I love you!’ Consider for a moment what this type of love looks like. ‘Honey, I love you. What I mean is I am patient and kind with you. I don’t envy you, don’t boast in front of you, and am not proud before you. I am not rude to you, I seek your good and not my own, I am not easily angered by you, and I keep no record of your wrongs.’ Wow! If only we could love like this all the time!”
God Gave —So Should We
Reading this challenges me to want to be known as a Giver of God’s love to Cindy 365 days a year, and not just at Christmas. And Cindy and I can’t think of a greater gift you could GIVE regularly in your marriage than to put into practice the principle of God Gave —So Should We. Will you join us in defining love by being lavish GIVERS?
One last thought. We know that some of you are in marriages where you’re struggling just to “hang on.” You find it difficult even imagine doing any of the above. We pray you will cling to the One who is the greatest gift giver —the One who is the greatest gift. Trust God for whatever you need.
Steve and Cindy Wright
— ALSO —
What do you buy for the woman who already has the greatest gift? Rev. James Snyder is not the only man to struggle with that question. You can read about his quest in “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at:
• ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
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