Gift lift is a healthy feeling when we keep it in the right perspective

Have you ever heard of gift lift?

Probably not. Merchants and advertisements only tell you half the story about it. Gift lift is the feeling of excitement you experience when you receive a present from someone.

Gift lift is the boost you get from presents. We all feel it, although singles may be more susceptible because it makes us feel loved and appreciated. This sense of elation is natural and is a healthy thing--most of the time.

It becomes unhealthy when we get hooked on this sensation. We've all seen insecure people who crave constant attention and a steady stream of presents. What started as something normal has turned into an addiction.

Part of the joy of gifts is when they come unexpectedly, for no reason other than to show appreciation and love. When they turn into a requirement in a relationship, it sets a standard that's impossible to maintain.

Correcting false expectations

Please don't get the idea that I'm against material possessions or giving Christmas gifts! I'm not. I think it's a wonderful tradition.

And this is not another message saying that "Jesus is the reason for the season." Gack! We've all heard that cliche so much that we detour to Daydreamland whenever somebody trots it out again.

No, the problem begins when we invest too much hope in presents or material things. We risk a letdown. Sooner or later the newness and attraction wear off, and the item gets pushed to the back of the closet, sold at a garage sale, or even put out for the trash.

Then we're looking for something new to replace it--or at least give us the same kind of high we got from earlier presents. If we stop for a moment and try to be realistic, we can put our attention in the right place.

It's not the gift; it's the giver

We can deal wisely with gift lift when we redirect our thoughts from the gift to the person who gave it to us.

The gift, of course, is a reminder of the person who gave it. If we see it that way, like a fine mirror that reflects an accurate image, it will direct our thoughts not to the glitter, but to the giver.

By now, the saying that "It's not the gift, it's the thought that counts" is also a whiskery old cliche. Unfortunately it's a truth we frequently forget.

When more turns into less--ouch!

When we're preoccupied with the gift, we might make the wrong assumption that more expensive means more love. Nobody wants to receive a single handkerchief for Christmas, but to expect a foreign sports car then to be crushed when you don't get one is a sure sign that something is seriously out of whack.

We may get miffed when someone gives us a gift card instead of spending hours choosing a present. If that's the case, we often forget that we've become pretty difficult to buy for and that we refused to tell the giver any hints on what we wanted.

To expect another person to spend so much that they have to go into debt to buy our presents is also wrong.

Jack's truths for thriving.

One of the most considerate things we can do for another person is to be realistic in what we expect from them.

Place your priorities someplace else

'Stuff' is not necessarily love.

Bottom line, put your faith in God and in people, not in presents. Materialism and giving have become powerful forces in our culture.

We enjoy the high that gift lift provides. Like laboratory rats, we want to keep repeating it, in ever-increasing doses.

But we're not rats, are we? We're the very pinnacle of God's creation. If you're a Christian, you'll never receive a better gift than the one Christ has already given you: eternal life.

If you're not a Christian, you might want to explore what the rest of us are so nutso about.

Gift lift? Not a problem if you understand it and keep it in its proper perspective.

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