“No Boxed Gifts”

Question ST: I have been invited to an Indian wedding and on the invitation they list “no boxed gifts”. Please explain what this could mean (are they specifically requesting money, or no gifts, or only gifts that are not wrapped?) I have never seen that before. It is being held at a hotel, and I hope to think it isn’t because of terrorism, but I suppose you never know. Thank you very much for your guidance.

Answer: Dear S. T. The “no boxed gifts” simply means that the couple prefers cash, which is a often a customary “gift” in India by persons other than close friends and family. (That is why I asked earlier how well you knew the bride or groom). According to Indian wedding consultants you, in your position, need not give money. They allow an alternative, such as a present that reminds them of you and your background.

If, in the interests of kindness, you wish to honor the couple, respect their request.  It’s differs from western principles in that it presumes to stipulate what the “gift” should be thus making the gift’s status (which by definition is something freely chosen and freely given) contrary to traditional American customs.

This invitation places you in an increasingly familiar circumstance of crossing cultures in the United States as more immigrants seek refuge and prosperity. Christian duty requires kindness to those who do not believe in Christ while not defiling oneself in the process by embracing their false gods or their practices. Our prayers should be for immigrant souls that they will know and love the God who has created and ordained the Biblical laws and principles on which this country was founded.

There are important differences in the Indian religions that manifest in weddings and their culture. Understanding Non-Christian Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart provides a quick and informative overview of the differences. Scripture is emphatic on not offending the true God by partnering or agreeing with idolatrous customs and principles. You have opportunity to pray and faithfully walk in the good work Christ has ordained for you in this association. May God grant you grace, obedience, and wisdom–and may He grant this couple His light and knowledge of salvation because their relationship with you.

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