The wrapping paper will barely be torn from the packages on Christmas morning when people will begin to think of regifting. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Wikipedia dictionary says: “Regifting or regiving is the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, sometimes in the guise of a new gift. One example of a formalization of this activity is the white elephant gift exchanges, in which items can be regifted from year to year.”
If you aren’t comfortable regifting, you can try selling your unwanted gifts. After all, the invention of eBay allows you to sell almost anything. Don’t need it? Post it on eBay. Someone out there will want whatever you have. Think I’m kidding? Read the following actual eBay post: “Hurry up and buy the remainder of my current pack of cigarettes . . . they’re going fast . . . I’m smoking them right now . . . they’re Parliament Lights in a box. Right now there’s 14 in here, but I’m not about to quit smoking, so time is limited. NO RESERVE! Checks and money orders are fine. Buyer pays $3.50 shipping.” I couldn’t believe anyone would respond to an ad like this, but there were 33 bids on it!
There have always been ads (on eBay and elsewhere) that have been, let’s say, poorly written. There was the one for the Braille dictionary: “Braille dictionary for sale. Must see to appreciate.” Or the one from the farmer who was looking for help, “Wanted, man to take care of cows that does not smoke or drink.” I guess if you are going to take care of cows, it would be a lot easier to manage the ones without those habits. Come to think of it, maybe that’s how we get smoked brisket.
All of the following ads actually found their way into the newspaper. “Christmas sale. Handmade gifts for the hard-to-find person.” Some people get really creative with their advertising copy. “Tickle-Me-Elmo, still in box, comes with its own 1988 Ford Mustang, 5L, Auto, Excellent condition, $6,800.” It’s an art to take something and put it in the best light so that the readers think they are getting a bargain. That reminds me of the ad that read, “Snow Blower for sale . . . only used on snowy days.” And then there are the things you want to get rid of because of a lifestyle change: “FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica. 45 Volumes. Excellent condition. $1,000 or best offer. No longer needed. Got married last weekend. Wife knows everything.” Or the one that read, “For Sale, Hope Chest, brand new, half off, long story.” I would have inquired just to hear the story.
You had to wonder about the ad that read, “Nordic Track, $300. Hardly used, call Chubby.” Other ads have you scratching your head. “Shakespeare’s Pizza. Free chopsticks,” or “Three-year old teacher needed for preschool. Experience preferred” or “Nice Parachute—Never opened. Used once.” Some things should never be allowed in print, like the one for the Harrisburg Postal Employee Gun Club. That gives a whole new meaning to the words “going postal.” And then there are all those ads from real owners trying to get rid of their cute, warm, fuzzy (NOT) pets: “Free Yorkshire Terrier: 8 years old. Hateful little dog.” “Free puppies: ½ Cocker Spaniel, ½ sneaky neighbor’s dog.” And “Free puppies: part German Shepherd, part stupid dog.”
All these ads represent ways people chose to communicate. They wanted to tell others about something they had. Their words sometimes made the item look more valuable than it really was and sometimes . . . not.
This season provides many opportunities for you to communicate about something you have: your relationship with Jesus. Do your words show His true value? Or do you speak of Him in a way that says He doesn’t matter to you?
In the past year, I have spent a great deal of time studying the truth that everybody matters to Jesus. The harassed department store clerk, the frantic delivery truck driver and the over-sugared, overexcited children who fill the school classroom—they all matter to Him. But the truth that drives me to my knees and to the mission field is this: one day, Jesus will matter to everybody. Either they will acknowledge Him during their time on Earth or they will realize—too late—that He matters after all.
This Christmas, will you join me in asking Jesus to allow you to show others how much He matters? A relationship with Him is the greatest gift of all. And guess what? He never minds if you . . . regift.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.