Recently, my pastor preached a Christmas season sermon on giving. As part of an illustration to emphasize a key point, he asked the congregation, by a show of hands, if anyone had ever “regifted” something they received. Well, as I scanned the congregation of hundreds, there was not a single hand raised.
I mean really…There was not a single vegan in the church who received a “meat of the month club” gift card? And what about a rabid Washington Redskins fan who got a Dallas Cowboy’s tee shirt? Or a committed beach bum who got a pair of snow boots?
Truth be told, we have all regifted something. In fact, it happens so frequently that there are even rules for regifting. Moreover, the term “regifter” officially was codified in the American lexicon by an episode of Seinfeld. In the episode, Elaine calls Dr. Tim Whatley a “regifter” after he gives Jerry Seinfeld a label-maker that was originally given to Whatley by Elaine. And then, of course, there is National Regifting Day, which is observed on the Thursday before Christmas.
Yet, despite all of this, especially at Christmas time, we are reluctant to admit that we regift. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it makes us seem ungrateful for what we receive. Maybe it’s the reality that someone who is supposed to know us well didn’t take the time to consider what we really need. Or maybe we feel a bit dishonest when we regift because we let the “regiftee” believe that we spent money on a gift that we got for free.
Alas, we suffer from “regifter guilt.”
But, as I pondered on our collective dilemma this Christmas season, it occurred to me that there was a gift given that was meant to be regifted. It’s Jesus Christ, the reason for the season, and the Gospel that his birth, life, and death embodied. Isaiah 9:6 reads, referring to Jesus: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Consider the practical and actionable implications of what Isaiah 9:6 is saying. Do you know someone who is trapped in a cycle of bad choices and poor decisions that are hurting them and others? Well, there is one who is a Wonderful Counselor that you can give to them. And what about the person who was abandoned by a father that should have loved them? Wouldn’t an Everlasting Father be the perfect gift to heal their soul? Or what about someone who is facing a life threatening illness and longs for peace in the midst of this storm? Wouldn’t they want to unwrap the Prince of Peace this Christmas?
You see, as John 3:16 reminds us, God so loved the world, that He gave—for regifting—His only begotten Son so that whoever receives Him gets all that Isaiah 9:6 promises and more…eternal life. Who among us doesn’t want and need this?
So, let us joyfully regift the Savior of the world this Christmas. And let us pray that those who receive Him do likewise as well. Amen.