Tis The Season: The Stress of Gift Giving

By Rev. Becky Brown | 2021-11-05 | 3 min read

It’s a race, every year, to find the perfect gifts for those we love. For many, Christmas is a time for expressing our love through our generosity. The pressure is real, to find the thing that will bring joy; the thing that is most coveted and desired. Sometimes we get caught up in the frenzy of it all – the looming Black Friday deals, that seem to come earlier each year. These days, there has been added pressure to purchase things early. Supply chains have slowed due to pandemic pressure, and there is a fear that there won’t be enough of the things our hearts desire. We long to create happiness for our children, grandchildren, siblings, and significant others. Being one of the lucky ones to snag the thing that is most precious and difficult to find, leaves us feeling victorious and crafty. We feel euphoric, since we have won the game.

Every year, I wonder, when will this stress and pressure end? When will we stop overloading the season of our liturgical year that is meant to be about anticipation and waiting with intense movement and impatience? When will the time come when we can simply stop and enjoy, savor the hot chocolate and the carols, spend time reading the stories that lead to Jesus’ birth, and look forward to quality time spent with family and friends – no strings attached?

I’m not sure when that will become a reality, but I do know I struggle to resist the frenzy. The temptation is real – especially with three children at home. My prayer is that the story of Jesus will overshadow all the discarded paper, bows, and toy packaging. My hope is the incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us, will be known, felt, and savored with thanksgiving.

I’m grateful we are a church that offers an alternative gift giving through our Missions Marketplace. There are so many beautiful options for gifting, with less pressure, and the generosity is twofold. It brings me great joy and peace to know that as I purchase gifts for beloved friends and family, I am able to give back. Supporting local artisans, non-profits in mission, and donating money to help others experience God’s grace and feel loved does the soul good. In many ways, it brings the balance back to the season. It reminds me that gift giving is for Jesus, and a reminder of God’s great gift to humanity.

So, I invite you to check out the Missions Marketplace this year. 10% of the sales (or more) from local vendors will go back to support our local community, while nonprofits will keep 100% of the donations. The shopping begins this Sunday, November 7 at noon. Purchases are made online at www.fumcmissionsmarketplace.com. The sale runs through November 14. There will be a kick-off event in the 10-11am in the gym this week, November 7, where you can learn more about the participating non- profit organizations. Things will not be available for purchase at that time. Its just a sneak-peek. Go and enjoy the online missions marketplace, because many items will go quickly! Oh, dear. Did I just add to the frenzy?

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