SGLY: Paid in full

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Prosper Press

I am paring down on Christmas shopping this year, looking to find a few meaningful presents rather than a closet full of gifts or grand gestures. Giving should be a personal experience — something that shows that we took the time to get to know something about the other person, perhaps a need or a want (or both). Whether gifting a shared experience, a letter of gratitude, or a thoughtful present to unwrap, we have the opportunity to spend something more valuable than money this year: time.

Take a moment to think about one of your most favorite Christmases. What or who made it so special?

As a society caught in a cycle of discord and distraction, we have some unlearning to do when it comes to celebrations. It is not uncommon after coming together to later dissect the negative. We must be more intentional in our ruminating. It is a lazy trap to be negative — an easy way to engage with no positive value. We cheat ourselves by feeding the foul and starving the praise. In a world that has mastered the use of filters, we often fail to utilize the ability to filter our words and actions through Jesus Christ.

I recently entered a retail store in search of a special present for my daughter. I had her in mind as I walked up and down the aisles. When my eyes landed upon a small special occasion purse, my feet stopped before my mind was aware. I took the purse and held it in one hand, trying to recall the last time I had any place to go that required a nice dress and a pretty purse. Black satin lined with petite pearls; I held this purse daintily in my hand. I did not bother to look around before twirling twice in the aisle. How I wished I had someplace to go — somewhere to dress up and twirl. As I returned the purse to its shelf, I scolded myself for having such frivolous thoughts. That is until a memory bubbled up and burst my negativity.

I recalled a time years ago when my daughter experienced a particularly stressful month. A young teen at the time, she was learning to manage her emotions despite her circumstances remaining unchanged (a tough lesson at any age). Rather than taking her to school the following day, I surprised her with a day of playing — playing hooky and playing dress-up.

She and I started our day at a local café, talking about how to mitigate her situation. We put into plan action steps to lessen her stress and elevate her perspective. From there, we went to a formal dress store and tried on dress after dress. I remember her twirling as she walked out of the fitting room, still wearing her Converse high-tops. Her joy radiated off of every mirror in the dressing room, so much in fact that it bounced from her to me in a rally that lasted the remainder of the day. We had no invitation to go anywhere, but we accepted the moment as an invitation to put down our stress and pick up our praise.

Thinking upon this special memory with my daughter, I realized this was exactly what I did when I picked up the black satin and pearl purse: I accepted the invitation to be joyful — what a gift — a priceless gift.

May we be intentional in our giving this year, going beyond appearances and partnering with the value within the moments we experience, both alone and in those we share with others. We do not have to have a special occasion to radiate joy: every day is worth celebrating. By allowing Christ to filter our view and daily accepting His invitation to walk with Him, we can begin to replace the lazy habit of negativity with the positive power of speaking and acting from a position of love.

When you think about that special holiday memory, I would imagine love was the greatest gift time gave you — the ability to share love and feel loved — doing life in a meaningful way. Take the time this year to share quality time, be fully present, and radiate joy. There is no price tag on love that Jesus hasn’t already paid in full.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.