Busy-ness, Christmas, Perspective

Gift: What We Can Give To Others

Jesus ornament

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are officially in the holiday season. Though there’s not much snow and festive weather in my corner of the country, it doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is in the past and Christmas looms large in my life’s windshield.

Hubs and I have completed most of our shopping. But there are parties to prepare for. Boys’ band concerts to attend. Activities to do so we can build memories with our quickly growing up boy-men. A house to decorate. Things to make. Gifts to wrap. Things to DO.

bows and lights


It’s too easy to focus on all the things I want to/need to do in the days leading up to Christmas. Some things may seem grand. Others may seem small.

But the question that’s pinging in my mind is, “What does Jesus want me to do?”

All the items on my list? They’re nice things to complete. Important, even.



But, during this season that can lead to too-much-busy, I sense Jesus wants me to be still before Him. To listen to Him.

Maybe he wants me—us—to see who we can be a gift to in our lives.



I can become so consumed with all my to-do’s that I miss opportunities to be a gift to  the people around me. I miss the weary sigh. The subtle request for help. The discouraged expression that flits across a face and then is gone.

I don’t want to spend this Advent season so busy creating a “perfect Christmas” that I miss the gifts God wants me to give to others.

Joy Christmas Tree


Whether it’s a clerk in a store who might need to hear a thank you, or someone who delivers something to our home who could use a smile. Whether it’s a friend who opens up about something that she’s struggling with. Or that person who recently had surgery but lives on the other side of town and could use a visit.

How can I be a gift to them? Maybe they just need someone to listen for a few minutes. Or a hug. Or maybe even a gift of a Christmas mocha (or tea).



The thing is, if I am going to be a gift to someone else, I need to have eyes and heart that are open and aligned with Jesus. Moments spent in stillness, quieting my heart before Jesus, enables me to hear His prompting throughout each day.

Do I want that perfect Christmas season for my family? Well, yes.

Christmas Cross 2014


But even more, I want to be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around me. I want to be a gift to the people God allows to cross my path. Maybe the best way to live out these days is to first be intentional about yielding my time and heart to Jesus. Then I can be available to offer a gift to others.

What about you? How do you balance your holiday to-do list with being available to others? What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Click to Tweet: Maybe he wants me—us—to see who we can be a gift to in our lives.

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday

18 thoughts on “Gift: What We Can Give To Others”

  1. Beautiful post, Jeanne, and lovely pictures.

    I never had much in the way of holiday traditions, but Barbara’s family always had the Big Christmas…so the best gift I could give was to help her in making our Christmas something she could share with her parents, at least by words and photos.

    I learned to enjoy parts of it, and Barb learned to enjoy a lower-key holiday without obligations. Worked pretty well all around.


    1. Andrew, I love that you and Barb have found ways to make the holidays work for each of you. That communication and adjusting is sometimes the greatest gifts we give to each other as spouses.


  2. I’m purposing to embrace simplicity this season. I’ve had enough years of Christmas craziness and I truly just want to walk through this one with eyes wide open. I’m pacing myself, measuring my time, and saying “no” to the pressure to make it just so. And funny, it makes me like Christmas so much more!


    1. Tiffany, purposing to do something is over half the battle, isn’t it? I’m learning to say no to things, and each year that looks different. This year, there are some things I can’t say no to, but I’m looking for those things that are “negotiable” so to speak. Like you, I want to walk through this season with eyes wide open, looking for Jesus in the everyday and having a heart that comes to Christmas day rested, not weary.


  3. Hi Jeanne! I want to be Jesus with skin on, too, to others around me. You’re so right… spending time with Him helps me be aware of His promptings each day. Such a timely reminder, my friend. Blessings to you!


  4. I agree with you here, Jeanne. It’s not the Pinterest Perfect moments that my boys will remember, but the celebration of Jesus and the love of our family that surrounds us. Thanks for this quiet reminder about our true celebration as believers.


    1. Pinterest-Perfect is such an apt phrase of what so many strive for, isn’t it, Michele? I love your definition of perfection—time spent with our families and especially as we celebrate Jesus’ birth and gift to us! I hope your days hold many special memories with your family and with Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. He was the perfect gift to us, leading a life of service to others. It only makes sense then that the ‘perfect’ gift is service to another, when I think about this more deeply! I wonder if Christmas will ever be about growing our heart 10x bigger, like the Grinch, when the presents and tinsel have nothing to do with the joy of the season? Taking that intentional step of service as you write, J, is definitely a step in the right direction for the real reason we celebrate. Thank you for this!


    1. Lynn, with our world telling us that Christmas is fulfilling only with giving and getting gifts, ignoring the real reason we celebrate the holiday, we have to be intentional about serving. I know you know that it’s only as we pour ourselves out into others’ lives that our hearts can grow 10X bigger. I haven’t watched the Grinch in a long time. I need to show that to my boys. They didn’t want to watch it when they were younger, but maybe now they’d enjoy it. 🙂

      May we both have the eyes of our hearts open to see how God would let us serve and bless others with the gift of presence. Thanks for adding so much to this conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this message, Jeanne. Along with you, “I want to be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around me.” And to focus on the Greatest Gift of all. May your Advent season be blessed with many quiet, unhurried, replenishing moments with our Savior! Hugs!


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