Retailers during the holiday season advertise certain items as being the very best shopping deals for this season and, therefore, by implication, the most desirable Christmas gifts. For example: The latest and greatest new technology. The most innovative gismo or gadget. The most fashionable piece of clothing or outfit. The shiniest piece of lovely jewelry. The most stylish and beautiful makeup. The handiest tool set. The most cutting-edge hunting or fishing devise.

But are these material items truly the best gifts of Christmas? Obviously they’re not!

As believers, we would be quick to point to the incarnation of Jesus, His beautiful, grace-filled life, and His perfect sacrifice, which mediated God’s New Covenant of grace and mercy as being the greatest gifts of all. However, with that all being fully understood and wholeheartedly acknowledged, there are a few other gifts that I would suggest are also priceless gifts for us to consider.

Here are my Top Seven: 

First is a compassionate heart. To care about the personal well-being of others is a powerful quality to possess and a true gift to the world.

Second, a listening ear. To listen nonjudgmentally and empathetically to someone’s difficult and painful story is to show them authentic love and sincere respect.

Third, an encouraging word. To offer true support, hope, and encouragement is to lift someone’s beleagured spirit out of a dark, desolate, and desperate place.

Fourth, a warm and friendly smile. To smile with kindness at someone is to say, “Hey, I notice you and I think you’re important and worthwhile. You’re not invisible!”

Fifth, a shoulder to cry on. To provide someone with a safe haven in which they may display their sadness or stress and freely shed tears is to engage in a ministry of presence and peace.

Sixth, a kind and thoughtful deed. To perform a meaningful and heartfelt act of kindness is to throw a life-line to a sinking or shipwrecked soul.

Seventh, the gift of your time and undivided attention. To spend quality time with people, no matter their age or status, is to demonstrate that they matter to you and that you treasure them.

These simple seven gifts represent some of the most precious gifts we could possibly ever offer to others, not only during this special season of giving, but also throughout the whole year. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!