Tis Better to Give than to Receive!

You have spent your traditional 30 minutes at the neighborhood convenience store mulling over the plethora of amazing gifts to give to those you love this holiday season, all the while, mumbling to yourself, “why do we even give presents, they know I love them without all this rigmarole.”  Now whether this is your or not, there is a bit of history to gift giving, especially around the holidays.  Part of being a great guy is “knowing stuff” so as part of our “Christmas” posts, we are going to take a quick look at gift giving through history!  I bet there is at least one bit of history that you will find interesting!

Tradition says that it started back when the three wise guys (men) came from the east, bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to honor the baby Jesus, the King of Kings. Traveling many miles and dealing with King Herrod, but the tradition of giving gifts at this time of the year started even before that. The Romans gave gifts in celebration of the winter solstice festival of Saturnalia. They believe that the gift of giving would bring them good fortune next year.

When paganism was replaced by Christianity in Rome, the two holidays merged. The gifts that were once given at Saturnalia were now given at Christmas. The same “give and you shall receive” message remained and when the Roman Empire expanded, the tradition followed throughout its Empire.

The tradition of Santa Claus giving gifts to children came around the fourth century. It started with St. Nicolas, a loved and respected priest, who was traveling through Asia Minor at that time. During his travels, he gave presents to poor children.

In the tenth century, King Wenceslas further added to the tradition. Rather than receiving gifts from his people, he started giving food and clothing to the poor in his kingdom.

The Puritans, who believed that Christmas was a worldly tradition not worth celebrating, had the celebration of Christmas ban here until the 1800′s. However, once the holiday finally took off in the United States it really took off. The average American spends over $1,000 on Christmas gifts each year, and with all the commercial aspects that have been put on Christmas, it is easy to forget the meaning and the message of those who started the tradition in the first place. Giving gifts has a long time honored history. It is better to give than to receive.

Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Do you have a response to today’s post?  Why not write it down and send it to us!  We would love to post it!

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