It was Thanksgiving weekend many years ago, and my sisters and I were at mom and dad’s house for the holiday. We were sitting around talking and my dad said, “I know what gift I want for Christmas this year.”
That stopped the conversation. Dad rarely asked for anything. And selecting a gift for him was always a challenge.
“I would like for each of you to put a white envelope on the tree for me this year. And in that envelope, tell me about the cause or ministry you have chosen to support as my Christmas gift.” Then he said clearly, “I don’t want anything else.”
So that’s what we did. And when we gathered to celebrate Christmas that year, sure enough, there were no gifts for dad under the tree. None from his daughters anyway. But on the tree were three white envelopes.
And after the gifts had been opened, dad plucked those envelopes from the tree and opened them. Eyes shining, he slowly read aloud the messages inside. Then he thanked each of us for our gift supporting the ministry we had chosen in his honor.
You probably know that my dad isn’t the only person who has ever done this. And you may have a similar tradition. Or you may have read and been inspired by a story like this one.
The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year. But the messages of peace on earth and joy to the world can get lost in the frenzy of holiday shopping.
The truth is, there are people on our Christmas lists who don’t really need another sweater or scarf.
Of course, you can always buy a gift card. And people like to receive those, although a surprising percentage of cards purchased and given are never actually used.
Here’s a thought: Why not honor those you love with a gift to an organization hard at work doing good in the world? You probably already know of several non-profit organizations in your area who would welcome your support.
Question: What married couples in your life inspire you? Do you have parents, grandparents or good friends celebrating major milestone anniversaries? Like 25, 40 or even 50 years together?
This Christmas, you might choose to honor them with a donation to Marriage Dynamics Institute, because that gift supports healthy marriages.
And after you donate, you will receive a Gift that Keeps on Giving certificate by email to tell them about the contribution you made in their honor.
You might also write a note and tell them how much you appreciate their example of love and faithfulness through the years. They will be happy to know that you value their legacy and want to share it with others.