Giving Christmas gifts to loved ones and family members is a very special part of the holiday celebration. When the weather turns cooler, Christmas present ideas are on the minds of shoppers and parents, all looking for the wonderful present that will bring joy and fulfillment on Christmas morning. Santa always has the perfect bag of stuff that never disappoints his recipients! Giving at this time of year is a long time tradition associated with the birth of Christ, and most people believe that we share presents with one another in a celebration of the three wise men who brought offerings to the child king, Jesus Christ. However, there is more history associated with giving and exchanging presents than this, and a brief look into the complete history of giving will open eyes to the concepts of the tradition.
Most of us are familiar with the story of St. Nick, or Santa Clause. Legend has it that he was originally Saint Nicholas, the bishop of Myra in Lycia. Though little is truly known about this patron saint, his apparent practice of kindness and giving toys and candy to children caused for the Eastern and Western churches to take note and continue the practice by naming a day in his honor, December 6th. Throughout the ages, parents told their children that if they were good, the saint would come and visit them again. And throughout the ages, Saint Nicholas has evolved through several cultures and customs to be our modern day Santa Clause, who knows and sees all, rewarding children for good behavior with Christmas gifts.
Another interesting and historical fact that has evolved into modern day holiday presents exchanging, is the ancient celebration of Saturnalia, of ancient Rome. During the Saturnalia Feast, which marked a the resurrection of the sun-god, Tammuz, the Romans gave gifts to each other in celebration of the return of the sun and to wish each other luck and prosperity. This festival was celebrated until the time of Constantine, when he commanded that the festival become Christian friendly and named the day the birth of Christ.
How these ancient practices have evolved into modern-day practices is amazing. Today, Christmas gift ideas are on the minds of even those who do not celebrate the birth of Christ. The exchange of Christmas gifts is a very old tradition that has meshed with other rituals and traditions from cultures past. And, the entire process continues to evolve in our culture today. Retail bottom lines are tied to the mass amount of money that is spent during the holidays and every single year, record numbers of people accumulate excessive debt on credit cards, taking an entire year to pay of the holiday spending spree. And sadly, some of the present exchanging has nothing or little to do with Christ.
Perhaps this year, when exchanging presents under the tree, Christians could remember the ultimate gift given for us through Christ's death. The Bible mandates that we remember Christ's death, the payment for our sins. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Corinthians 11:26) Also, when looking for good Christmas gift ideas, consider giving Christ something special as a family.
We can honor his life and death with the giving of our time, heart, life, and resources. Jesus said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:28) With so great a gift given to us, how could we neglect giving to Him in return. For more truth about Christmas gift ideas and giving, visit the links listed above.