Had a great Christmas day with the family. We spent all day together - opening presents, playing games and doing a bon-fire. The day ended with watching a movie or basketball. All in all, it was a great day.
My children are older now so they are able to earn their own money and purchase their own gifts for us. It was fun to see them prepare, purchase, wrap and watch as their siblings and parents opened their gifts - the gifts that they had bought with their own money.
I have noticed that, as a family, we seem to enjoy giving gifts and giving to others. Watching the excitement in my kids eyes as I opened the gifts that they had purchased for me, confirmed that the joy of giving gifts is something that is deep in our souls.
On Christmas Eve I was thinking about gifts and giving. I know that a portion of Christmas has been distorted by materialism - by the desire to receive. However, I believe that one of the essences of Christmas is giving. John 3:16 confirms this: for God so loved the world that He gave..... Christmas, at one of its roots, is about giving. God giving. Jesus giving. Mary and Joseph giving. Paul reminds us of the words of Jesus - it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). He adorned this virtue with His whole life.
The joy of giving is a reflection of God that is written within our souls. We experience joy when we give because we are reflecting His character, His actions, His image. When we give, we feel joy. We pursue that. We earn money, spend time thinking about what someone would like, drive around shopping and getting the gift - because we desire to see the joy of watching our beloved open the gift, seeing the joy in their eyes, experiencing their joyous hug. It is a great feeling!
I think that this is a joy that God feels when we receive his gifts to us. I believe that He wants us to feel this. I believe that He wants us to give us away so that we can feel this. It is part of His nature that He wants to become part of our nature - giving.
PS - It is not his intent that we seek the feeling of joy - it is a by-product of an action, not something that we should seek in an of itself. It is His intent that we give ourselves away and in giving, experience the result: joy.