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Is there any point to buying Christmas gifts for my family?
Question: A recent message reply brought up some questions. The subject is buying Christmas presents. This year I don't have much to spend. I am thinking of telling my family I am not buying anything this year. This thought makes me feel guilty and into lack and limitation. I am a person who loves to give so I don't understand how I get into this situation. You say we are the meaning of life as spirit and the world of images, persons, places, and things have no meaning. Take this related to Christmas shopping, which is buying things and giving to people. What's the point if they have no meaning?
Answer: Thanks for writing and for taking a close look at the "What's the point?" question in relation to Christmas shopping. The ego and the Holy Spirit have very different perspectives on the concept of gifts and giving. This "season" is an excellent opportunity to clarify the meaning of gifts and giving that are held in mind.
Christ is a perfect Idea in the Mind of God. God creates Christ and Gives Christ Everything in the Creating. God Gives Eternally and this Meaning is "God Creates and Extends in Spirit." Christ Identity in God is All Meaning and the projections of the time-space cosmos the ego made have no meaning. Eternity is Meaning and the temporal will not last and therefore is without any meaning or reality or existence. ACIM Workbook Lessons 128 and 133 are helpful guidelines in opening to this realization. The world offers nothing of value because nothing of the world will last forever, and Eternity is All Value and Meaning.
The cosmos was the ego's attempt at a substitute "reality,” made to take the place of Eternity. The cosmos was made to deny Divine Mind, yet error cannot veil the Spiritual Truth of Christ. Christ lives forever in the Mind of God and error has no appeal to the mind which has forgiven the world of error. There is no Mind in matter for in the Eternal Now there is no matter. True Giving is Creation. With regard to this world, the only gift worthy of our attention is acceptance of the Atonement, the Correction of error.
In ACIM Christ says: "Look upon all the trinkets made to hang upon the body, or to cover it or for its use. See all the useless things made for its eyes to see. Think on the many offerings made for its pleasure, and remember all these were made to make seem lovely what you hate." (T-20.II.1)
"Gifts are not made through bodies, if they be truly given and received. For bodies can neither offer nor accept; hold out nor take. Only the mind can value, and only the mind decides on what it would receive and give. And every gift it offers depends on what it wants. It will adorn its chosen home most carefully, making it ready to receive the gifts it wants by offering them to those who come unto its chosen home, or those it would attract to it. And there they will exchange their gifts, offering and receiving what their minds judge to be worthy of them." (T-20.II.2)
Later in the ACIM Manual for Teachers a further clarification of the true reflection of the Meaning of Giving is given:
"The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God's teachers this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means "giving away" in the sense of "giving up." To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world's thinking. In the clearest way possible, and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.
The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest. This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep, because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself." (M-4.VII.1-2)
As trust in the Holy Spirit's Guidance grows it becomes apparent that the only gifts worthy of sharing are the beatitudes Christ has spoken of which extend forever. Our very Being is the Gift, and the peace, love and joy Christ radiates will go on forever and ever and ever. The trinkets of the world cannot be "for giving,” yet I rejoice that the temporal cosmos has been "forgiven." The nothingness of the ego has been exposed, and All Value and Meaning remain forever as the Christ.
Only the ego seems to experience guilt. Be of good cheer, for You are not the ego. The ego associated "gifts" with things and money and behaviors. The Spirit knows that Gifts are the Thoughts of God. The ego's "gifts" never fully satisfy the yearning to give and to receive, yet miracles fill the "storehouse" of an open and willing mind ready to have miracles performed through it. Give the miracle as an offering of the Present Moment. Everyone is blessed in the Holy Instant in Which Christ is Born in awareness. Experience how wonderful it feels to Be Everything and extend Everything without limits of any kind. Spirit expects no thing and offers Everything by simply Being. This is Giving as God Gives. In God there is no scarcity or lack. When the nothingness of the ego is exposed guilt is revealed as impossible. No trinket can offer the gift forgiveness brings.
In Peace & in God's Will, David