So many gifts to buy, so little time! Finding parking, fighting the crowds, standing in line, these are only a few of the pleasures of shopping at the mall. Sometimes you can avoid all of this by shopping online – maybe. Online shopping comes with it’s own set of problems. Often the items are not available (which sends you back to the mall) or in some cases you waited so long to order that the shipping price is outrageous or they can’t get the present there on time. As a society we have put so much importance on giving just the right gift that the gifts that money can’t buy are almost forgotten.
Growing up the books and television series “Little House on the Prairie” were among my favorites. These books and shows told the story of Laura Ingles Wilder, her family, and about their life growing up on the prairie. No matter how harsh life on the prairie became for the family, they always had a strong faith in God and a deep love for each other. The stories that revolved around Christmas were some of the best. The family usually had no money to buy gifts for each other (no credit cards, no malls, no internet) and sometimes barely had enough to eat. But Pa (as Laura loving referred to him) would always talk about the situations that the family faced throughout the year that drew them closer together. Then he would read the Christmas story from the family Bible. The family always felt so rich with God’s blessings.
6 Gifts That Money Can’t Buy
Those values that were shared in the Little House stories are shared by all who give with their heart everyday of the year. Here is just a small list of a few things that can be given all year long:
Doing something kind that brings cheer or sharing kind words with someone may cost you nothing but can mean so much to the person you are sharing them with. Life sometimes deals people situations that are hard to take. Showing concern during these times is a form of kindness that will help them rise up and meet life’s challenges. Have you shared any good deeds lately? I am sure you have heard it said “Carry each other’s burdens”. And remember – kindness should always begin at home with family members.
This word has been made famous in a rock and roll song by Aretha Franklin. But respect is more than just a word in a song. Wherever we go, we find people worthy of our respect. We should always try to be aware of the impact our words have on others. Are we kind? Treating each person the way we would want to be treated is the best way to show respect to another person. Since all humankind is God’s creation, we honor God when we honor others with respect.
There are so many people of all ages that are longing for a friend. They are looking for someone that will show them kindness, listen to their concerns or problems, and be there for them in good times and bad. In an old child’s story, a goose states a wise truth: “One can never have too many friends.” Taking the first move to establish friendship isn’t easy but it is always worth the effort. The book of Proverbs tells us, “A man that has friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
Taking a positive stand for the things you believe in is difficult. When someone gossips or makes a statement that you know to be false, do you speak up and correct what is being said or do you stay silent? When friends ask you to go with them to a place that you know is not where you should be, do you go along or do you have the courage to say no? Have you ever thought that someone is watching you, waiting for you to be an example? Another part of courage is to say we are sorry when we make a mistake and ask for forgiveness.
This one needs no explanation. Giving thanks every day for the things you have is a way of life. Part of thankfulness is optimism, always finding the good in every situation.
We often look at confident people and think they were lucky to be born that way. But confidence is built over the course of a lifetime, one moment at a time. Are you a confidence builder? Do you tell your friends “thank you” or “I appreciate you”? These few little words build their confidence each time you repeat them. Do you tell you family members “I am thankful for you”, “Great job”, “thank you for your help”, “I love you”? Every time you repeat these words, they know that they have a home where they can be themselves. Try this and watch their confidence grow.
As your thoughts turn to what truly matters during the holidays, think about the gifts that money cannot buy. If you already practice these habits in your family, you are definitely blessed. If you decide to start a new tradition of practicing these gifts, share the news with the whole family. You might want to have a family meeting to let the whole family know that these gifts will be freely shared with everyone and as often as possible. When you do this, your joy will be greater than any material gift.
Author: Mary Covey
Mary Covey is a long time member of Bixby’s First Baptist who volunteers her time to guest write for our blog. Mary is an expert quilter, published author, and proud grandmother.