By Shewanda Riley
Regifting. Chances are that you have either done it or have had it done to you. And for many people, regifting is the simplest way to get rid of presents that you received that you didn’t want. I had a conversation with my parents a few years about regifting Christmas gifts. Both me and my mother agreed that we’d done it because it was a way to be a blessing to others. Then one of the morning news shows did a story about the best way the to regift. One of the ways they mentioned was to add a little something of your own to your gift before you give it to somebody else. For example, if someone gave you a candle, they suggested buying a nice candleholder to go along with it.
Later, I thought about how we do the same thing with the gift that God gave of his only son Jesus. I thought about how we regift Jesus to others. Some present lives that honor God through words and actions. Others regift God’s love with hypocrisy. Matthew 6:4 says that we should “give our gifts in private, and our Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” For some, regifting Jesus follows this model. They give their time, talent, or treasure in support of community organizations. Others might take it one step further and create community organizations or ministries that help others. Rather than seek the “spotlight,” they work behind the scenes being a blessing to others. These people act as Jesus’ hands extended regifting his grace and love to others. Some choose to regift Jesus by encouraging others.
In the last year, I’ve had the chance to be both the giver of and receiver of words of encouragement. When I was unsure and doubtful about personal and professional decisions I’d made, I was given words of encouragement that shifted my focus from my worries of the present to the promises of the future. Months later, when a friend was in a similar position questioning things that were happening in his life, I was able to offer him similar words of encouragement. Even though some friends told me to send him on his way because he had too much “drama,” I had to regift God’s grace just as it had been given to me when I needed it most.
Another way to regift Jesus to others is to speak words of encouragement to others. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” Encouragement isn’t necessarily deeply spiritual; sometimes it’s just sincere words that uplift and inspire others. These can be as simple as “You can make it!” or “Things are going to get better” or “You are smart/handsome/beautiful.” These simple words may seem insignificant but to those who need to hear them, they can transform a life. Some might forget about big gift giving until next Christmas, but we should always remember to regift God’s grace. No matter how much money we have, we can always gift and regift God’s grace.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Shewanda Riley (Aunt Wanda), PhD, is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda. You can also listen to her podcast at www.chocolateauntiepodcast.com.