Cherishing Holiday Gift Giving
As I was dancing to the joyful Christmas music in the stores yesterday, I started to wonder how the tradition of gift giving began. With the mad rush, sense of obligation, and sometimes confusion on what to get people, I wanted to know what could be a deeper way to experience the exchange of gifts. The exchange also includes the receiver and what they can do to add to the experience for everyone.
Growing up as a Jew, I decided to look online to do more research on the history of Christmas gifts. The story is that when Jesus was born the Three Wise Men brought him gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. According to one website:
Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship, and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus.
Gold was associated with Kings, and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
Myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice, and, as a gift, it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
Thus the first Christmas gifts were offered to reveal Jesus’ greatness and predict his future. How special it would be if we considered revealing someone’s greatness through the gifts we give them or including the thought of how this gift would impact their future. Maybe we buy them a fancy pen so they look more professional on the job or a new yoga mat to help them improve their practice.
Now if you can’t figure out how to get that creative, the energy behind the gift giving can be even stronger. If you feel appreciation, love, and admiration, that will come across more strongly than any physical object you offer someone. If you remember that feeling in your heart as you shop and as you wrap your gifts, I believe that love will be projected even more strongly.
With a gift being given as an expression of love, the receiver can receive that whether or not they like the gift. It is actually very important to always receive gifts from others, even if you feel you cannot use it because the giver gets a gift in return from being received and appreciated for their offering. It also helps keep energy in motion so that relationship can continue to progress.
May you be filled with love this holiday season!
A beautiful song about the Three Wise Men by Swami Kriyananda sung by the Ananda choir: