I love Christmas time, but I have to admit that I don't like the popular phrase used to describe it during this short time of the year. The older I get, the more those three little words bother me. It even makes me cringe.
I might sound like Scrooge when I admit this, but the "season of giving" doesn't always bring a smile to my face. Before you paint me green and call me the Grinch, let me explain. You may even find yourself in my awkward pointy curled shoes.
I am a huge fan of the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. I purchased and read it (along with 11 million others) many years ago when it first came out and since then, there are a variety of books targeted for kids, teens, spouses, and everyone in-between. The author shares that we all show and receive love in one (or more) of these five categories:
And . . . the way you like to show your care for others may differ from how you like to receive it. I can tell you firsthand that it opened my eyes to how I interact not just with my family, but also others around me. It helped me appreciate differences and not get quickly frustrated with someone because what I said or did didn't seem to matter as much as I hoped it would.
As my oldest grew up, I could tell that physical touch was important to him and even to this day as a teenager, he still likes to sit close or even snuggle with his mom (praise the Lord!!!) - of course, he likes it more when it's not in public (thus the teenage part coming out). I learned that words of affirmation and physical touch were important to my husband, but that at least one of those categories was at the bottom of my list. Neither way is wrong, they are just different and recognizing it makes life a lot easier to live!!!! And likewise, my husband learned that vacuuming the house many times means more to me than a bouquet of flowers.
I love to show someone I care about them through gifts and acts of service. Whether it's making a double-batch of bread or cookies to give to someone or sending a note to someone who needs encouragement or watching a friend's kiddos to give them a break . . . I know this is my love language on the giving end.
Having traveled all over the world for many years, I can also attest to the fact that these are universal. A little balloon can bring a huge smile to a child's face even after they lost their home in a hurricane. A hug can break cultural barriers in our own county. (Click the link or picture below to watch a short video made about my balloon experiences overseas.)
So . . . . why is December the ONLY month that is categorized as the "season of giving?"
Don't hear me wrong. I understand Christmas time is when gifts are exchanged, when happiness permeates with every angel cookie baked and gingerbread house built and when carols are sung outside in the snow. And most importantly, it's when we celebrate the best gift of all . . . Jesus.
BUT, I challenge you to change the way you think.
Consider of EVERY DAY as an opportunity to give . . . to make a difference! Love isn't confined to only 30 days a year. It's a 365-24-7 choice . . . and that decision starts NOW!!!
To discover your "love language," take the online test at http://www.5lovelanguages.com.