Lords a-leaping don't come cheap. Neither do pipers piping. And five golden rings cost a lot more than they did last year.

That's what PNC Wealth Management found in their 27th annual analysis of the cost of the gifts from the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song. In fact, the cost of regaling one's true love from Christmas to Epiphany rose 9.2% in 2010, mainly due to the rise in the price of gold and the increase in labor costs.

Even if they aren't looking for partridges in pear trees, people turn out in droves this time of year, seeking to find the perfect present for friends and family. Merchants are eager to help them, offering specials and giveaways designed to tempt even Ebenezer Scrooge into spending more than he should.

The truth is, we like giving gifts. As the Bible says, it's more blessed to give than to receive. We like being able to give people something that will make them happy.

I think we are that way because our God is that way. When we do things that are like our God, we feel better about ourselves. God is the original giver. As our Creator, God has given us every good thing.

Yet His greatest gift goes unappreciated far too often. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

God so loved that He gave. His love motivated Him to give a gift. Not just any gift, but the gift of His Son. His only Son. God sent His only Son to die so that the whole world would have a chance at living. God gave His Son so that others would receive the most precious gift of all: eternal life. As the apostle Paul said, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

When we do things that are like our God, we feel better about ourselves
In this season of giving and receiving, let's stop and give thanks for the greatest gift of all. Let's stop and give thanks to the greatest Giver of all.

If you want to know more about God's gift, write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or join the conversation on the blog at www.hopeforlife.org and leave a comment there.

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