When regifting is a blessing

Today is our Chemo Date Day. While Joni and I spend our day at the Slow Drip Spa I am posting a gently read post from the past. Christmas apparently is almost here based on the number of holiday catalogs arriving daily. It is an interesting phenomenon to burn your fingers on a mailbox superheated by 100 plus degree Texas days and pull out a catalog with models frolicking in the snow. With the Christmas shopping season looming it seemed appropriate to revisit the topic of regifting.

I suppose that most writers perceive themselves as wordsmiths. But most of us merely arrange previously coined words. What a thrill it must be to actually create a word and see it become a part of the lexicon. The Seinfeld television show was known for inventing new words and phrases that are now in common usage. I was reminded of that this week when I read a survey about the phenomenon of regifting. Regift is a verb and means “to give an unwanted gift to someone else; to give as a gift something one previously received as a gift.” (dictionary.com) That term, as well as the noun regifter, were first used in a Seinfeld episode from 1995 called The Label Maker. Seinfeldians will recall this dialogue…

George: The wedding is off.  Now you can go to the Super Bowl.
Jerry: I can’t call Tim Whatley and ask for the tickets back.
George: You just gave them to him two days ago, he’s gotta give you a grace period.
Jerry: Are you even vaguely familiar with the concept of giving? There’s no grace period.
George: Well, didn’t he regift the label maker?
Jerry: Possibly.
George: Well, if he can regift, why can’t you degift?
Jerry: You may have a point.
George: I have a point, I have a point.

Trust me,  before this is over I hope to have a point, I hope to have a point. Knight-Ridder Newspapers reported that nearly 60 percent of us receive unwanted gifts over the Christmas season and half of us admit to regifting. That is the percentage that will admit to the practice. The study was commissioned by eBay and they found that more women than men admit to regifting (59 percent vs 45 percent). A number of questions arise. Are women just more honest? Are men too thoughtless to even regift? Is it because the average bad man gift (i.e. Billy the Singing Bass) is just too tacky to even regift? According to the survey the top regifting items were knickknacks and pampering products so that might explain the lower masculine percentile. I wouldn’t admit that I regifted pampering products even under duress.

But for Christians the concept of regifting is noble and even encouraged because the gifts we have received are not unwanted. For example, we have received the gift of hope in Jesus. Hope makes a lovely gift to share with a world that is very short of that commodity.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesian 1  NIV

How about regifting those who feel guilty and downcast with the concept of the grace that you have received as a free gift? Twenty times Paul refers to grace in his letter to the Roman Church. Grace is such a liberating gift for a wounded world. We don’t have to live as a slave to sin anymore.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  Roman 5 NIV

This amazing and unmerited gift of grace is a message that we have not done a very good job of telling…or of gifting to one another.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.  All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life–a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.    Romans 5 The Message

Aggressive forgiveness. I love that phrase! That is what grace is all about. Philip Yancey gave me the knowledge of this gift through his wonderful book What’s Amazing about Grace?. I was raised in a church where we wouldn’t have recognized grace if it bit us on our hindquarters. So this has been a life changing gift for me. I want to regift everyone I know with this message.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.   Romans 3  NIV

Package up a little hope and grace and feel free to regift others. Who needs more pampering products when you can share gifts like these?