Yesterday was Cyber Monday and a lot of people are in gift buying mode for Christmas. Given the season, I thought it might be nice to slow down and consider gifts we can give as Christians to share our faith or help other people grow in faith. So today’s episode is all about gifts. In the podcast I discuss seven different types of godly gifts and the unique merits each offers. Below are some of the key take-aways.
Intentionally giving godly gifts was something I started doing about five years ago. I decided that year to give at least one spiritually significant gift to every family member. Finding godly gifts appropriate to each family member was a lot of fun and far more meaningful. So let’s dive in. The first and most obvious godly gifts to me are:
1. Christian Books
The diversity of Christian books available is absolutely bottomless. There are bible study books, devotional guides, books on Christian living, Christian finance, or great classics of the faith like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, or My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I could go on and on.
One of my favorite types of Christian books to get specifically are devotional guides. Here’s what I love about devotional guides:
First, you can get devotional guides highly relevant to a particular person. You can find devotional guides for everything from moms to dieters. For example, my son loves nature and is an avid hunter. I got him a guide one year called, “A look at life from a deer stand devotional.” He’s a not a big reader, but this was engaging to him because it was around written theme that he enjoys.
Second, devotional guides aren’t just one and done books, meaning you read through it once and never pick it up again. Devotional guides tend to get used again and again.
Similarly, bibles also have those same two great traits. You can get bible’s that hit on specific appeals. For example, there are chronological bibles, archaelogy bibles, study bibles, chain reference bibles and more. So even if someone already has a a bible, you can pick one up that can broaden their reading and understanding by getting something with specific helps.
And again, like devotional guides a bible is a gift someone hopefully returns to again and again. Personally, I am seriously thinking about picking up several copies of the new Illuminated ESV Bible that just came out. These are gorgeous additions with wide margins for taking notes. Plus, the ESV is a great translation.
If you feel kind of lost in how to select a good bible, you may want to check out these two previous posts:
3. Music and DVD’s
Music and DVD’s are great gifts because people tend to consume media again and again. People listen to songs until they get internalized and then those songs can minister to them in amazing ways. My morning praise time right now as I walk my dog is almost entirely spent singing praise. I’m realizing though that my praise music memory is pretty limited. So, I think I’ll be listening to more Christian music this year or just playing more on my guitar and banjo so I can get it down. The songs I do remember are great for lifting me out a funk and getting me focused on God. You never know when or how a song you’ve given to someone may minister to them deeply.
Plus, Christian music comes in about every imaginable music style you can think of. So it’s easy to find music that someone is going to love.
Similarly, video bible studies or even Christian movies can have a big impact on someone. Movies can be watched with other people and discussed or viewed again and again and they speak to us differently at different times in our lives. The Christian movie industry has matured much even in just the past five to ten years. The films are getting better produced and have better acting as Christian movies are now edging their way into theaters.
Christians prints, paintings, posters, sculpture and many other forms of media are all available, particularly through Christian bookstores. Artwork offers three distinct benefits. Art is visually present as a continual reminder. This presence can be a witness of your faith. And lastly, art can serve as a conversation starter.
A piece of artwork around a favorite or inspiring bible verse can also be a touching gift. Speaking of artwork, closely aligned to that is…
When you think christian jewelry you probably immediately think of crosses. However, rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, etc can all be found with either rich Christian symbols or inscribed verses. These pieces like artwork, are a constant reminder, a quiet witness, or conversation starter. One wonderful thing aspect of jewelry is that it often gets passed down from generation to generation. So jewelry can be a gift that endures.
When I started writing this blog post I didn’t have any clue how many Christian games were available. I had played Bible Mad Gab and a couple of different bible trivia games. I was shocked to discover that numerous popular games have Bible editions, such as, Apples to Apples, Outburst, and Cranium. Just google “Christian board games”.
Games are wonderful gifts because they generate fun memories and depending upon the game they may increase your bible knowledge. Games also come in choices appropriate to a variety of knowledge and age levels.
Lastly, if you are looking for a gift for someone who has everything, consider giving…
7. Alternative Gifts
Alternative gifts are donations made in someone’s honor to a ministry. For example, we’ve given to Heifer Project International many times and had a card sent to a famly member letting them know that we bought a goat or some chickens or some other livestock to help increase the life style of someone in a developing country. We’ve also given to Habitat for Humanity which strives eliminate inadequate housing. You could even give a gift in someone’s honor to your church or their church.
When giving alternative gifts, I would urge you to look into how much of your gift is actually used programmatically and how much is used administratively.
I would love to hear in the comments below about some of your favorite godly gifts you have given or received.
Blessings to you this Christmas season,
The Practical Disciple