It seems everyone I know right now is caught up in the momentum centered around giving gifts. Just after retiring the Thanksgiving leftovers to the fridge, folks abruptly turn their activities to a gift-buying frenzy, kicked off with Black-Friday door busters. Since gifting is taking up so much mental and physical energy now, it’s the perfect time to discuss “gifts,” just not the traditional Christmas gifts you wrap, open, and forget. Yes, Christmas gifts, like that 4K flat screen with surround sound, will no doubt not be quickly forgotten, yet that’s still not among the best, most cherished, and most fulfilling of gifts you could give.
The type of gifts many know to be truly lasting have nothing to do with Black Friday and are not found anywhere on Amazon, instead, deeply satisfying gifts are “Gifts of the Spirt” in Christian parlance. Otherwise, they are known to all as “Gifts of Service” and “Gifts of Oneself.” These gifts are really the true spirt of Christmas.
The legend of Saint Nick was based upon a real-life Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century Christian bishop, famous for his generous gifts to the poor. In a discussion about gifts and Christianity, who could forget God’s greatest gift to all was his only son? Today, some practice the custom of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas to remind them of the gifts of Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh given to Jesus by the Wise Men.
The Bible also references gifts many other times. In First Corinthians 12:27 it says every Christian has at least some “Spiritual Gifts” to give, “To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” After a partial listing of such Spiritual Gifts in the scripture, the apostle described an analogy of a human body as an illustration of the various functions of the member of the body of Christ. This is the basis for PeopleKeys’ Spiritual Gifts Inventory.
Today, in honor of the Christmas tradition, we can’t literally give a gift to Jesus for Christmas, but we can try to discover our own Spiritual Gifts and Personal Strengths so that we can give of ourselves to others through service in the best way possible. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
More research points to the fact that it really is better (for your soul) to give than to receive. This is true of all religions and cultures. "Our findings suggest that the psychological reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts," said author Lara Aknin of Simon Fraser University in Canada who studied giving. Her team of researchers conducted a poll of over 200,000 people from 126 countries. Her finding showed respondents said they experienced feelings of well-being after giving to others. Those feelings were universal among people of different income levels and social structures and in countries with different levels of freedom and corruption. The research was published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
We learned from Gary Chapman about the Five Love Languages, which help us understand a little more about how each of us are wired differently in terms of how we like to be loved, and none of them have to do with materialism.
This Christmas, most of us will participate in the traditional gift swapping with loved ones. After we take down the tree trimmings, and put the Elf on the Shelf back in the closet, we can further enrich ourselves, our loved ones, and the “least of these” (those in need) by discovering our Spiritual Gifts and Personal Strengths with DISC.
For more information on how you or your church can use Spiritual Gifts and Personal Strengths testing in a practical way, read this blog post by Rich Birch. Rich is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America and bestselling author. His latest book, Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is designed to help your church reach more people in your community.
In addition to the DISC Personality Styles Identified, the Spiritual Gifts identified in the PeopleKeys’ Spiritual Gifts Inventory (SGI) Include: