"They are ever generous and quick to lend; their children will be a blessing." (Psalm 37:26)
Gift-giving plays an important role in some cultures. Gifts are a common way for hosts and guests to show respect, appreciation and hospitality.
It can be difficult for new missionaries to learn exactly what kind of gift to give, to whom, and when. But it's also an opportunity to extend grace, and to receive grace as well.
Jacob and Heather and their four children are currently serving as missionaries in Asia. They recently shared this story: "We had the opportunity to invite a single mom and her son over to celebrate Christmas with us. There was a fair amount of ambiguity in the evening. Within seconds of coming in our door, this generous woman handed out expensive and beautiful gifts to all of our children. While it is not uncommon for [people in this culture] to bring gifts when they come, we weren't sure if these gifts were meant for Christmas or just everyday common courtesy. We had also prepared many gifts for our guests, but we were expecting to give them in a typical ceremony after our meal. We just reciprocated our gifts to them. At dinner we took the time to read the Christmas story. Her son could not understand the words, but his mother, we hope, understood the message of the Savior coming in baby form."
What a simple but beautiful example of gift-giving. God gives us these moments as little glimpses of his grace, and he offers opportunities for us to share stories of the greatest gift of all.