I’ve heard that term several times this week on news reports and advertisements. The “perfect gift” should apparently be our goal for the season. Well we’ve already been given the Perfect Gift and He is a tough act to follow! But I think we can certainly use God’s criteria for the gifts we give to each other. The perfect gift should be thoughtful and offered in love.
A thoughtful gift shows that you have been paying attention. You have been listening and observing and investing in your relationship. You know the recipient well enough to know some of their needs, wishes, and idiosyncrasies. I am always more grateful for the appropriateness of a gift rather than the price tag. One of my treasured gifts from the past is a drawing of an elephant because it took time, effort, and thoughtfulness.
I grew up with a relative who often gave gifts with “strings attached”. “You must take very good care of this because I spent a lot of money on it.” was usually the string. But there was also the inherent message that I was required to love and respect her because she had money and was willing to spend it on me. Even a very young child is quick to understand the “bribery” factor behind many gifts. I’ve heard parents promise that Santa will bring a specific present if “xyz” happens or such and so behavior is the result, etc. There were times in my young life when I just knew that the gift I wanted most would NOT be under the tree because there was no way I could be good enough to deserve it!
There will always be people in our lives who give gifts to impress or control or influence us in some way. But the perfect gift is an expression of the love of the giver, regardless of whether we deserve it or not. There is no assumption of a requisite feeling or action attached to it. And that is the perfect gift!