We have a new word that a few years ago did not exist, regifting. It is the act of taking a gift given you and giving it to someone else as if you chose it especially for them. A number of years ago Doris was in a panic on her way out the door to a wedding shower for our friend Kim and her husband-to-be Eric. She had no gift. Another good friend, Sharon, wife to our friend Pete (you know where I’m going with this) reached in the top of her closet and brought down a still wrapped gift from her own wedding shower a few years earlier. “Give them this,” she said. “Pete and I have never even opened it.”
What a great idea! Until Kim opened the gift and found a card on the INSIDE, “Congratulations Sharon and Pete. You are a wonderful couple.”
Regifting is especially pronounced at Christmas time. We get busy. There is yet another party to go to. The budget is stretched so we grab a present from under the tree, rewrap it, CHECK FOR OLD CARDS, and off we go. My mother has more than once actually given the gift back to the person who gave it to her in the first place. Hey, we’re all trying to live green and recycle. This takes it to a whole new level. Maybe we should just establish a finite number of gifts and keep reshuffling them across the world every year. No, that wouldn’t work because when I got Donald Trump’s Rolex, or Warren Buffet’s Mercedes, I stop the regifting cycle.
There is one gift that we get over and over at this time of the year that is very appropriate though, the Gift of the Christ Child. Every year the nativity scenes come out, the Baby Jesus ornaments get hung, and we sing Away in a Manger. We receive again the gift we got last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.
This gift, however, is one that was designed in the heart of God to be regifted. Somehow in His wisdom God knew that it would take us about a year to get cynical, distracted, or afraid (especially this year). Somehow, at the beginning of time God knew that we would need an annual reminder of His endless devotion to us. And so He gave the gift that keeps on giving. (another shameless Christmas cliché that comes attached to the jelly of the month card.)
In this case though, the regifting of the Christ Child not only keeps on giving, its the whole point of the thing. When I am sure that life is meaningless, that there is no hope, and that all of my efforts are futile, I carefully unwrap this precious bundle and remember that this Baby changed the world. I remember that this Baby changed me. I remember that every good and perfect gift was and is compressed into this tiny, wriggling little infant and God really is with us. I open this gift again and again and know that My Savior is not some ethereal, mystical being but He lived and breathed, and walked among us. And I can go on for another year.
We don’t put our nativity set in the front yard or on the mantle to memorialize some event that happened 2000 year ago. We celebrate the Baby in the Manger to accept one more time the gift of joy, and hope, and peace on earth. So…in the middle of your hustle and bustle this last week before Christmas don’t forget to do some regifting. Give the Baby away again. Remind one another that Christ not only did come, He is here, now, with us, in us. And those socks I gave you last year….keep them.