As I enjoy the warm weather this particular Christmas has brought us with a cup of tea and a host of family, I can’t help but recall I particularly comical song I heard at Liberty University’s annual Christmas talent show. The song writer talked about how he was excited to be single this Christmas. In fact, he broke up with his girlfriend on Christmas Eve because . . . well quite frankly he didn’t want to have to buy her any gifts. He went on to say that he would get back with her after the holidays were over.
This really made me think: in relationships have we turned holiday’s and special celebrations (Valentine’s Day, Birthdays) into mandatory gift giving artificial special moments that have lost any semblance of true joy?
Think about how many guys in particular stress over what to get their girlfriends to make them happy. Most girls expect some kind of jewelry or some other expensive gift if the guy has been with them for a while. And if he decides to show his love another way? There is certainly hell to be raised. Or what about Valentine’s Day? How many guys meet their girl with flowers and take her out on a nice date just to avoid a fight?
Should holidays really be about this? If you truly love someone should you really care whether or not they get you any gifts at all?
Gary Chapman in his book the five love languages states that one way that people feel loved is by receiving gifts. I could never pretend to have more knowledge than he on relationships, but I’ve often wondered if grouping people into five love languages is accurate. And is gift giving really a love language? Or is it the outcropping of a materialist society that equates possessions or objects with feelings?
Look back to the first Christmas. The wise men from the Middle East came to Jesus bearing gifts to show their loyalty. And yet they came out of free will, under no obligation, without any expectation of harm was they not to bring the gifts. They came with joy. A new king. They wanted to honor him.
Think about how you have treated your significant other this year. Have you caused him to be fearful of losing your affection if he doesn’t buy you the right gifts? Or have you allowed him to be free to give because he wants to know that your love for him would not change were he only to give himself.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t give gifts obviously. But if Christmas becomes so stressful and busy that we can’t enjoy the holiday, it might be better not to celebrate at all.
Work to relieve stress for the ones you love today. If your significant other doesn’t get you what you really want, love them for their heart. The gift isn’t that important. It’s the person you love. Right?
In the last verse of that song, the artist hesitated on the line about getting back with his girlfriend. He started to say he’d get back with her in January but then was like maybe not. Some of us are blessed with loving relationships this holiday. And some of us are blessed to be single. Either way let’s be content with what we have and be thankful for the friends and family we do have.