If a gift is given out of obligation is it still a gift?

The holidays are fast approaching and it is time for every Christian writer/blogger to complain about how Christmas is to commercial and consumer driven.  While I will not disagree with this, we Christians ruin Christmas in so many ways too.

1. Asking for a gift means it is not a gift:  I love to look at people’s websites or blogs and see there list of things that readers may “like” to get them.  This is ridiculous!  If you have to ask for a gift it is not a gift anymore.  A gift is given by someone out of the goodness of their heart not because they have been asked or feel obligated; which leads to number 2

2.  If you give a gift out of obligation to someone because they gave you a gift then neither the gift received nor the gift given are actually gifts.  Again a gift is given by someone who genuinely wants to give another person something simply because they love them, like them, or thought of them when they saw said product.  But when you give something in return to someone you did not plan to give a gift to, then your “gift” is not really a gift; thus making the “gift” you received not really a gift either. 

The truth is someone that really cares about you would not care if you gave them a gift in return.  I should be able to give something to someone because I want to and then be happy to receive only a thank you from them.  BECAUSE I GAVE THEM A GIFT.  And if I expect something in return then it was not a gift in the first place.

I should also not have to feel guilty about not getting someone something when they get me something.  Granted this is probably more of a personal problem since I will probably not even know if they are mad or not, but still I just love to get the look from someone that gives a “gift” and then looks at you upset when you do not give a “gift” in return.

Let’s analyze the best gift any of us have ever been given, Jesus.  Did God give Jesus to us because of some obligation?  NO  Does God look down on us with His hands out waiting for His gift in return?  NO  Does God expect something in return for giving us Jesus? Yes and NO  If we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior then yes we should in return give God our hearts and lives.  But to have the opportunity to receive Jesus we give nothing in return. 

This year lets give and receive gifts like Christians, not like self-centered children.

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