Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

Before you continue reading, you should click on this link and watch video number 3.

The Big Bang Theory

First of all, I love this show. I'm a nerd and its a show for nerds. I think it's hilarious.

Ok now to the point. I was watching this last night with Collin, my coworker. He came over to the house to watch the big Heroes midseason finale. If you've watched the clip (which you should have, cuz its too funny not to), you'll notice something that I've always thought was wrong with the holidays. Sheldon, the tall skinny and neurotic one, tells Penny, "You haven't given me a gift, you've given me an obligation!"

When did the concept of gift giving become so skewed? At what point did recieving a gift become part of a transaction? I've heard several people say, and I've said myself, "He didn't get me anything. Why should I get them something?" Well to the shock of all four of my readers, gift giving does not require reciprocity. I want to get to the point to where I can give someone a gift just because I love them. I want to be able to give someone something and not expect anything in return except maybe a thank you. If I try really hard, I'm pretty sure I can think of someone who gave a gift out of nothing but love...

Society today teaches that giving requires getting. We live in a world that revolves around materialism and trade and economy (albeit crumbling economy, but economy nonetheless). This mindset has become so skewed and backwards that the timeless tradition of gift giving at Christmas and birthdays has become nothing more than a typical transaction.

Think about it. Someone gets you a gift for your birthday, and while you're grateful and appreciate the thought, in the back of your head you're thinking, "Oh great now I have to get them something for their birthday!" That's not what giving a gift is all about. A gift is something you should give or get without the feeling of obligation to return the gift. Sure, it's good manners and considered polite to give a reciprocal gift, but it should not be obligatory. This is something I've been contemplating alot over the past few months, more so now with the holidays and the passing of a birthday that I've personally been debating whether or not to get a gift for. I think it's important because I've been given a gift that I could never offer anything as suitable recompense for, my salvation. But more on that in a little bit.

I've prayed about it and asked that the Lord would reveal to me what He thinks on this issue. I feel it's important for me to get to the point where I can give a gift and not expect anything in return. I've tried putting that into practice a few times by surprising a few friends with a random little gifts here and there, but every time I've secretly thought in my head, "This guy owes me now." I don't want to think that. That's not a true gift.

Remember that link I posted? Well click it again and watch video number one. Don't worry. I'll wait.


Ok that's enough time. Funny huh? "I POSSES THE DNA OF LEONARD NIMOY?!?!?" In case you're not sure, that's the guy who played Spock in the original Star Trek. Leonard, the character on the show, is most definetly a huge Star Trek fan, and here he's been given this amazing gift that is way more than anything he could ever ask for or hope to deserve. He's completly blown away and shocked and grateful. Earlier in the show, he's at the mall with the other two guys from the first clip you watched and isn't certain which size gift basket he should get for Penny. He comes up with the solution of buying one of every size. After he opens the gift from Penny, he was planning on excusing himself on account of indigestion and looking up the price of his gift online. He would then find the basket that is closest to the price of his gift and give it to Penny, successfully completing what he see as the Gift Transaction.

Imagine his surprise when he recieves something that he feels could never be repaid. He opens the box and sees the autograph from Spock, and the DNA, and is so overcome that he's practically speechless. So what does he do? He runs to his bedroom and grabs all the baskets and gives them to her. Even then, he feels as though his gift is not enough. So he does something that is completly out of character for him, he hugs Penny.

Ok I'm really hoping I don't have to spend too much time explaining what makes this scene so beautfiul.

We have been given a Gift so amazing and awesome that nothing we do could ever repay that. Jesus died on a cross to pay the price for our sins. He purchased an eternal life with him and freely offers it to all of us. It's a gift that all the bath gift baskets in the world could never repay! And yet He offers it to us! And when Jesus gives you a gift, He doesn't expect anything in return, expect love and gratitude. He understands what giving a gift is all about! Oh that we would realize how truly amazing His gift of eternal life is! Oh that we would learn the true meaning of gift giving and put into practice an obligatory-free holiday season!

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