Heart Choices: Best Gifts to Give -->

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Best Gifts to Give

The holiday season is here. Most people are busy shopping for gifts, baking, going to parties, decorating their homes, writing cards and volunteering.

Christmas seems to have become synonymous with busyness, instead of ... a time for family, loved ones and celebrating and reflecting on the true reason for the season; the birth of Christ.

How about you?

Have you become so busy that ...you don't have time to sit and simply listen to a troubled neighbor who is hurt and lonely since her husband left? Or to take the time to tell your son how proud you are of his progress in a particular area? Or encouraged your dad to unpack his oils and paint brushes and return to his love for art?

Why do you spend time doing the activities you do at this time of year? And is it for the right reasons? What's your true motivation?

Sometimes people look for status, approval and recognition by doing "good things". Look at her, she's always the first one to volunteer to bake cookies and feed the homeless.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things but ...would you take a moment to consider why you do them? It may be for the right reason but then again maybe not!

I guess I've been giving this some thought afer reading a comment on one of my previous posts by L-Jay of My Little Norway.

L-Jay commented that sometimes people ...
"commit themselves to lots of charity work at Christmas and therefore not having enough time to spend with their own families".

Hmmm...when does charity work cross over the line? Or is that fair to consider? Isn't it good to help others?

I remembered a book I read several years ago called "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. The author wrote that people receive love in different ways. When we want to show love to someone, our tendency it to do this in our own love language. But if that person doesn't receive love in your particular love language, they may not feel the love you intended.

For example, a wife complains that she doesn't feel loved by her husband. He says that of course, he loves her. After all, he works hard to provide a home and put food on the table. Doesn't that mean he loves her? But if her love language is quality time and he's not spending time with her, she may not feel loved.

Here's a list of the five love languages from Gary Chapman's book:

  • Quality time: Spending focused time with the person
  • Receiving gifts: Giving gifts to show you care
  • Acts of service: Help to carry responsibilities to show you care
  • Physical touch: Hugs and touch to show love
  • Words of affirmation: Saying the words to show you care

My husband's love language is "acts of service". I've found that we've become closer since I've been working and helping him in his startup tech company. Although acts of service isn't my primary love language, I can tell you that it helps our relationship. He feels loved and supported more than ever. And then he shows his love for me by giving me love in my love language; physical touch. Lots of hugs for me so we both feel loved and that's the best gift. :)

If you want to find out what your love language is, take a 30 second assessment by clicking this link.

Charity and volunteering are important things to do all year long. I'm not suggesting you stop doing this.

But finding the right balance during the holidays can be challenging. Have you considered taking your child whose love language is 'quality time' along with you as you serve meals to the homeless? It's a great way to be a a good example and provide a teaching opportunity.

During this Christmas season, consider giving the best gift ...the gift of love.

Take time to show love to others as Christ demonstrated His love to us. Will you take time to discover the love language of each of your family members?

I would love to hear your suggestions on ways to balance your time during this season. How do you balance time with family amidst all of the other activities? Do you know your family members' love language?
Debbie Petras
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  1. Debbie,

    This is a wonderful post. I know a lot of Christian families whose children left the church because their parents were so involved in the church the children resented the Lord and the church. We have to keep the family cherished and then the works of the Lord follow.

    Jay and I volunteer together so that our time is not apart also. And we also incorporate Josh when he is not working.

    Blessings to you, sweet sis! Happy Wednesday!

  2. This is a fantastic read! It's a shame that posts have to end because I wanted to keep on reading. The idea of 'love language' is very inspired. Finding out what your husband's, your children's, and family's love language is, so you can fulfill their emotional needs, I think is the essence of love itself. I am very excited about this.
    Thank you so much.

    In my own family when we give service we do it together as a family. The joy of serving together is unbeatable.

    God Jul!

  3. ...by the way, you've inspired me to write a post too ;)

  4. Dear Debbie,
    This is not an easy post to reflect on.
    I think being empathic is a key word.
    Learning what the persons needs and wants are, a deciding how much one is able to give.
    I think very few people have things or money on their top want list.
    And that's often the only thing they get. Stones for bread.
    As for churches and charity..
    Christmas is a extraordinary tough time to get through for the ill, the lonley and the poor.

    If all took upon themselves to help one, there would not be such burdens on the few who are willing to sacrifice something.
    My uncle who died this May was a unique person when it came to charity (he would never have put that word on it). 40 consecutive years of Sundayschooling, 30 years of supporting and helping alcoholics and their families, visiting the lonely elders.
    Puh, this list is much longer.
    Of course he could never have done that without the support of his family.
    They gave him strength, he was motivated by the love of Christ.

    For four years, after he himself had a beginning Alzheimer's, he would visit my Dad, struck by a severe brain hemorrhage, daily.

    My father's face lightened yp, a inner light was lit, every time my uncle came.
    They had a real good time together, and as my uncle's memory began to fade, my Dad laughingly became a comfort to his brother too.
    To sit there listening how the pair revived happy and painful memories from their childhood, that was no less than a miracle.

    At my uncle's funeral the eldest of eight grandchildren spoke.
    He said the unique thing about his granddad was his remarkable ability to take interest in each one individually. Just in passing he would ask; what have you done today. Show me, have you practiced your handstand??
    The seven young men simultaneously went to a wall in their stern faces and black suits and made a perfect handstand performance to honor their beloved Granddad.
    I bet he saw that and his heart was filled with joy.

    What do I mean to say other than praising my uncle and my dad for that sake.?
    Chase after love, Paul challenges us.
    By doing so we will also gain what we need.
    From Felisol

  5. Debbie,
    This is the first post I've read this a.m. and I think it's the BEST "Christmas" post yet. I will visit L-Jay's site and that book you suggested is going on my list! This was a very heart felt post.

    It reminds me to sit down will my nephew for 5 minutes after he gets home from school even though it seems like he wants to run to the basement immediately to start homework.

    Thank you!!

    p.s. I'm adding this post to my Stumbled Upon (New for me, have you heard of it?).

  6. I love this post. I think it is most effective to involve the children any way you can in holiday giving/volunteering.

  7. Hm.....very insightful post. Actaully, I have little neighbor whom I know I need to visit. Her family is out of town, and her husband is a fireman. She has a little baby and is so often tied to the house. Sometimes knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are big steps. But thank-you, I think I'll actually invite her to dinner next week and go see her tree. This is such a great time of year to just reach out to our neighbors - "hi, I just drop by to see your tree." OUr homes usually look the most beautiful at Christams. Of course, you may want to call first. There are those days where my house looks more like the Christmas tree exploded. But still, it's a great time to give the gift of your "presence," rather than your "present."


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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