Instead of opting for the familiar White Elephant gift exchange, our family has a White Dove gift exchange on Christmas day. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17). This is the first clear expression of the concept of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
The Holy Spirit is God, just as the Father and Son are. The Holy Spirit now makes His home in every believer’s life, enabling communication with God through prayer. The emphases of the White Dove gift exchange is Prayer.
White Dove Selection Each family member selects a personal item that holds special meaning. For instance, one year my husband selected a hand-written note that he had given to his mom as a young teen. He had found the note tucked away in his mother’s cherished possessions following her death. The carefully selected item becomes the White Dove. It is gift-wrapped, labeled with the giver’s name, and awaits its recipient on Christmas day. (Note: The item (White Dove) may remain the same each year, or a new item may be selected.)
We later changed our White Dove exchange from Christmas to our Family Legacy Day.
White Dove Gift Exchange Each person passes their White Dove gift around to all participating family members. This may be done by reading the Christmas story (right/left game), or by listening to a favorite Christmas song. The exchange concludes when the story or song ends and each person is holding a White Dove gift. From youngest to oldest, everyone takes a turn opening their White Dove gift and discloses the giver’s name. The owner of the White Dove then may choose to share the reason for selecting their item. After everyone has had a turn to open their White Dove gifts, a prayer is offered for each family member.
1-Year Prayer Commitment The White Dove is taken home and placed in a prominent viewing spot, where it serves as a reminder to pray daily for that particular family member throughout the new year. Family members are also encouraged to contact the person who has their White Dove when they have a specific/personal/urgent prayer request. I have found that texting or leaving a voice message about a specific prayer request works well. I often sense God’s peace, knowing that I am being prayed for by my White Dove caretaker.
Praises Prior to each year’s White Dove gift exchange, each family member has an opportunity to praise God for answered prayers. They may also choose to retell any significant times of prayer (received or offered).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7.