The lights are up. The tree has been decorated. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has already appeared on television.
It must be time for Christmas!
With Christmas comes the joy that accompanies presents. Somehow, the tree always looks better when there are packages underneath it.
As I look at our Christmas tree now, I think back to the holidays of my youth. I can still remember a bit of the excitement I experienced when I opened a gift when I was 9 or 10 years old. It was a large portion of the “Star Wars” micro collection set. This miniature replica of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away featured the frozen world of Hoth and the sky city of Bespin – both key locations of “The Empire Strikes Back.” The little men and women were made of metal. The play sets had small platforms that allowed you to make Luke Skywalker and Han Solo move.
I played many, many hours with that toy. And I took good enough care of it that I was able to pass it down to my son. Thanks to his love for “Star Wars” as a youngster, I had the chance to play with the micro collection yet again.
Odd that this time the fun was in seeing my son’s excitement in playing with it. The toy of my youth just didn’t hold my interest as an adult.
Contrast that excitement with what I shared last week: the worst gift I ever received. As I explained, I received a 2-foot-tall nutcracker from a relative. I was 10 or 11 years old at the time and had no use than – just as I don’t now – for a tall nutcracker.
I’m pretty sure that nutcracker just got tossed in the trash. But if I were to receive such a thing now – and if it was in good shape – I probably would “regift” it. You know what regifting is, right? It’s the practice of taking an unwanted item and passing it along to other people who can appreciate it. From what I recall, the nutcracker would have made a darn fine decoration for someone with a creative eye for such things.
When you look at etiquette websites, they all are pretty clear about what is OK to regift and what should never be passed along to other people.
Good stuff: Unopened candles, photo frames, unmarked-in books, coffee mugs still in the wrapper.
Bad stuff people apparently have received: Slippers with worn soles, towels with stains on them and home décor items that are particular person, such as items with initials on them.
I guess you could say regifting is somewhat of an art. If you are going to regift an item, it needs to be in good shape and needs to be of use to the recipient.
The concept of regifting makes me think of how we, as Christians, should be treating our faith. I think we should be regifting Jesus.
I know. That sounds cliché and a little corny. But I think it’s a real expectation of us as followers of Christ.
This isn’t some run-down item, a broken item that once was useful and now is not. It’s the son of God who sacrificed Himself for the salvation of all who choose to receive the gift of grace!
I look to two verses to illustrate this point:
Mark 16:15 says: “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature.’”
1 Peter 3:15 says: “Instead, regard Christ as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.”
I take two points from those two passages of scripture: Proclaim and speak of hope.
People shouldn’t just want this gift of Jesus. They need it. They just don’t know it yet.
And they won’t know it unless we share the gift we have with them. That gift is knowledge of Christ as our Savior. We need to regift our faith to ensure others can know the hope we have!
So, this Christmas season, I urge us all to take up the challenge to proclaim our faith in Christ. Tell others. Invite the people you know to worship and, especially, to Christmas Eve services. Share what you know about Jesus by sharing the story of your faith journey with others.
You don’t have to go out and buy anything new. You already have a gift that won't wear out and with which you never have to worry about becoming bored. You just need to regift what you already know.
This Christmas, regift your faith in Jesus.
Todd Seifert is communications director for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. He can be reached via phone at 402-464-5994, ext. 113, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Great Plains Annual Conference or the United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter, @ToddSeifert.