With all the different parties happening this time of year, one of my favorites includes those where white elephant gifts are exchanged. That delightful time when you can hunt through your home for those wonderful treasures you hated to pitch but would thoroughly enjoy gifting as a joke.
The term “white elephant” has morphed in meaning over the years. It began as a costly burden that hadn’t met up to expectations. Something perceived to be more than it was. The term has since been used to recognize profit from the thinking that one man’s trash could actually be another’s treasure. What’s outdated and under-performing to one person could be exactly what someone else is looking for.
Seventy of us participated in this exchange. We saw everything from mugs filled with chocolates to Las Vegas coasters to funky salt and pepper shakers. We drew numbers to determine order, and then, one by one, we’d grab a gift from the middle and open it. Unless we’d seen something someone else had chosen that we wanted. We had the option of stealing something they had instead of taking the risk of opening a new gift.
The laughter was contagious. Watching the expressions on people’s faces was priceless. What was surprising was what some valued and others tried to steal.
The lighthearted teasing and and lack of competition was refreshing, especially for those who’d never participated in anything like this before. We have quite a few countries represented with our group who’ve never experienced this.
People often like to give and get gifts. Retailers, commercials, billboards make me feel that if I’m not giving the big ticket items, the longed-for dream items on the wish list, I’ve failed in my gifting. Thats a stress booster.
Gifts aren’t always appreciated. I work hard at buying the absolute right thing only to sometimes realize when it’s received, I missed the mark.
Giving gifts isn’t easy.
Jesus knew that. He came offering Himself as the greatest gift we could ever receive–grace we can never deserve to free us from the harsh penalty for all the wrongs we’ve committed. He offers to pay the price we can’t. An incredible gift of love and forgiveness.
There’ve been times when I’ve looked at that gift and have thought it too simple. There must be something else I should do to at least show I deserve such a gift.
That’s just it. What Jesus gives is a pure gift. No strings attached. I just need to choose to receive it.
Some of our folks gave away their white elephant gift rather than take it home. Others traded. Still others will regift.
What Jesus offers is something I want to keep. My treasure.
That’s nothing to laugh at.