About this time of the year, many of you are weary and worn, exhausting yourselves trying to find that special gift for the person who has everything. Many on your list are like me. When asked by Polla, or other family members, what I want for Christmas, I have nothing to offer.

I am at that stage in my life where I have most of the things I want or need. My wants are few, and my needs are even fewer. Life is good, and I am old enough to realize that material things bring only temporary happiness. My joy at Christmas is not determined by what I get, but by watching others enjoy what they are given.

So what do you give someone who has everything you can afford to buy them? Now there is a qualifier. I would take a new Lexus if any of my family could afford to buy it; however, I’m not planning on spending much time looking at the driveway on Christmas morning. My expectations for that gift are really low to zero.

So let me suggest a gift you can give that will cost you no money and could be the best gift your family member or friend will receive. Give the gift of encouragement. There are several different ways you can accomplish this.

One way to give the gift of encouragement is to ask God to give you a verse specific to each of your family members that you can pray over them throughout 2018. I have done this before. Write a note to your family member and tell them of your love and appreciation for them. Let them know that God has given you a verse to pray for them. Share with them what this verse means in application to their lives. Each week take time to lift that family member before the Lord using the Scripture verse as a foundation for your specific prayer for them.

We live in a world of constant put-downs, conflicts and disappointments. While it will cost you precious time, one of the best gifts you could give to a special person on your list is a note or letter of encouragement. Share your love for them and why they mean so much to you; extol ways they bring joy to your life. Highlight a gift or personality trait they possess that blesses you. Put the letter, note or card in a gift box and let them open it. Be prepared for tears of joy!

Another approach is to take time to speak your encouragement. Perhaps before the meal or before the gifts are opened or on Christmas Eve, speak a blessing over family members individually and then lead them in prayer. Give thanks to God for each of your family members.

Encouragement will require thought and preparation and will cost you some time. I would suggest it will end up being the most significant Christmas gift you will give this year. Your family needs to know you value them, love them and are thankful for them. Encouragement will not show up on your credit card bill in January, but it will be the most priceless gift given this Christmas.