Why We Give Gifts at Christmas? And Free Gifts to Give!
The origin of giving gifts at Christmas is rooted in the birth of Christ. In the context of the time Mary was to give birth to a king. So it would only be expected that the three wise men would bring gifts befitting a king. Gold, frankincense and myrrh, in ancient times were highly prized commodities.
Gold is a precious metal and a valuable commodity. Gold is a symbol of divinity seen on many pagan idols. The Ark of the Covenant supposedly is overlaid with gold. Therefore the gift of gold symbolized the divinity of a king.
One of the most highly prized substances of the ancient world, frankincense was as valuable as gold. Frankincense was used in many temples as incense, as well as used to fumigate a sick person of the evil spirits causing a sickness. The medicinal properties of frankincense are antiseptic and expectorant. It was often used to reduce inflammation and improve breathing. On an emotional level its medicinal properties brought fortification and stimulation to the psyche. Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of sacrifice, analogous to a burnt offering.
Myrrh was closely tied to frankincense. Both of these substances were considered precious drugs used for fumigation, embalming, treatments and public worship. Myrrh was also sometimes mingled with wine to form a stupefying potion. Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering and affliction.
So myrrh being commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense as a perfume, and gold as a valuable metal made the giving of these three gifts a spiritual meaning of:: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense as a symbol of deity, and myrrh as a symbol of death.
Many believe it was the Victorians that invented the commercial aspects of Christmas gift givng Although they did not invent it they were very influential in incorporating many of the world’s customs into commercial enterprises supported by manufacturing, industrialist and shopkeepers. Victorians realized that Christmas, with its emphasis on generosity and hospitality, could be exploited into a commercial venture.
Somehow through the commercialization of Christmas we have lost the real meaning of giving. It is not about how much money you spend or how the big the gift. It is about giving for the sake of giving; sacrificing for the sake of sacrifice. The real reason we give gifts at Christmas is to remind us that birth and death are two ends of the life spectrum. What we give in-between is a mark of the value we place on life. So here are some free gifts worth giving. These won’t cost you a cent, but they will bring joy and good will.
To your enemy give forgiveness, to an opponent give tolerance, to a friend give a helping hand, to those you love give an open heart, to a customer give good service, be charitable and give your time, to every child give a good example of what it means to give unselfishly and to yourself give respect.
These are gifts that come from the heart. Think what would happen if we gave these gifts, not just at Christmas, but all year round? We would then experience the true meaning of Christmas, which is to make the world a better place for all of humankind and in this we all thrive.