By Nathan Anenson 

There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday shopping spree is upon us.  We shop and we shop to find that perfect gift for our family and friends.  But what if what your loved ones need most this Christmas, is not that new gaming system, collectible, or sweater, but something that money can’t buy.  Here are five surprising gifts that will bring joy to your family. 

The gift of patience.  December can bring busy calendars and long to-do lists, and thus stress can hit new levels.  Too often our stress boils over on those closest to us and they get burned.  What if this Christmas you gave the gift of patience to those around you: to your kid who won’t listen, to your spouse who is running late, and to the restaurant server who is trying their best to keep up with all their tables?  

The gift of perspective.  It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of life: what he did and what she said.  As you gather with family and friends, what if you offer perspective on what really matters and what’s worth focusing our attention on?  Not every battle is worth fighting.  Not everything will matter ten years from now.   

The gift of forgiveness.  Grudges come easy.  Bitterness steals our peace.  Is there someone in your life that you struggle to forgive for what they have done?  I have heard it said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Extend forgiveness and you will receive the gift of being free.   

The gift of prayer.  Many times, we or our loved ones, face difficulties that are simply too big for us to deal with.  We find ourselves in circumstances that we can’t control or change.  But there is a God who holds the whole world in His hands and loves you and loves to answer prayer.  Lift your loved ones regularly to God in prayer and trust that He will guide and provide as you surrender to Him.   

The gift of Jesus.  The gifts above are not easy to give.  In our best moments, we do some good, but so often we fail to follow through on our intentions and we end up giving stress and hurt instead. That is why Christmas happened.  That is why God sent His Son to this earth as the best gift ever.  In this gift of Jesus, God died to forgive our sins and came to be with us to empower a whole new way of life.  This Christmas, give the best gifts you can, but most importantly, receive the best Gift there is.  Open your heart to Jesus.  Receive his forgiveness and power.  The best Gift this Christmas is for you.