Each year about the end of November, Linda and I begin our annual Christmas ritual. We take a yellow pad and begin to make our Christmas gift list. We’ve done this for years. We write the names of family members, persons we work with, and persons who provide services to us, and other important people in our lives. As we go into stores to shop, our sheet from the yellow pad goes with us. If we shop online, the list is in front of us.
Maybe you do something like this as well. Maybe you’ve already begun to make your Christmas gift list. What (or who) should be on your Christmas gift list this year?
In thinking about your list, I want to call your attention to a Bible verse—1 Thessalonians 3:9: “How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us?” Let me explain the verse.
The New Testament apostle and missionary, Paul, had planted a church in the ancient city of Thessalonica. The members of the church had faced persecution for their faith. Yet, those troubles had made them strong in the Lord. That fact brought joy to Paul’s life. He thanked God for these precious people God had brought into his life.
Who are the people in your life who mean the most to you? Before this Christmas season draws to a close, and with those persons in mind, I want to suggest that you consider 3 areas.
1. Make a List of the Most Important People in Your Life
On your list might be your wife, your husband, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your brothers or sisters, some close friends, a favorite aunt or uncle, a fellow church members, or possibly someone you work with.
• To whom do I owe a deep debt of personal gratitude?
• Who are the people who have been there for me?
• Who are the folks who have taught me life’s greatest lessons?
• Who has never failed to love me and encourage me?
• Who are the people who have served as my role models?
2. Thank God for Bringing These People Into Your Life
That’s what Paul did. He said, “I can’t thank God enough for you.” So, who, then, are the people God has strategically placed into your life?
For you that might be:
• Someone who gave you wise counsel at a critical point in your life.
• Someone who held you accountable when you were about to make a terrible mistake.
• A special youth minister in your life during your adolescent years, and his or her influence still impacts your life.
• A pastor whose Bible teaching helped you grow spiritually.
• A person whose Godly example encourages you.
3. Tell Those People How Much They Mean to You
Paul took time to say, “Thank you . . . I appreciate you . . . You fill my life with joy.” This step might seem like such a simple thing to do, but I would dare to say that many of us don’t say these things often enough.
I’m not trying to manipulate you into being overly sentimental or trying to make you mushy and syrupy. I do, though, want you to keep something in mind—people will not know who you feel about them unless you make the effort to tell them.
This Christmas will you consider giving a special gift to the people in your life who mean the most to you? Tell them how much they mean to you. As you do this, you will bring hope to their lives.