Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The True Essence of Secular Christmas Gift Giving - RECIPROCITY!!!

One of CBS's breakout hits is the situation comedy "The Big Bang Theory" about four super intelligent, super-nerdy, geeks trying to live in a non-geeky world. The centerpiece of the ensemble is Sheldon who is too smart for his own good, having 2 Ph.D's and a complete lack of empathy regardless of the subject. Here, he responds to his neighbor's (Penny: a non-brilliant waitress/actress want-to-be) announcement that she's gotten him a Christmas gift.

With my current emphasis on the Advent Conspiracy (www.adventconspiracy.org), which focuses on spending less money on conventional gifts, while learning to give more meaningful "relational" gifts...Sheldon's comments are right on target for much of our cultures current practices of gift "exchanging" vs. true "giving." His quote:

"You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? I know you think you're being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven't given me a gift, you've given me an obligation. The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you've given me. Ah, it's no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year."

I know the following clip is long, but the payoff is great, especially for those people who think they have to spend a lot of money to give a great gift. I can spiritualize further by noting that Sheldon, brilliant though he is in the world of theoretical physics, he completely underestimates the power of Penny's gift. The lesson: no matter how "smart" we think we are, our Father's gift of Himself through Christ at Christmas, is beyond all others and should send us reeling (as Sheldon reacts to his gift) with joy and wonder and amazement! May this happen to you on the morning of Dec. 25th (and every morning for that matter!). Enjoy the clip!

No comments: