Matthew 2:11 “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” NIV
“…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
In my regular life, I groom dogs. I began grooming when I was 15 and have done it off and on for over 30 years. More on than off for the last fifteen years. My life is made richer by my relationships with the dogs and their owners. Many owners have become lifelong friends and I have been blessed by their generosity. Each time I think I am giving to them, I end up receiving so much more. Today a wonderful woman gave me a gift she couldn’t possibly have known the significance of. In the bag, carefully wrapped in tissue paper was a dressing gown. Beautiful, lacy, pink. The perfect gift from an unsuspecting angel.
This holiday season is so very hard on me. I have thought a lot lately about how fractured my family has become. Spread all over the countryside with no way to meet in one place. One here, one there, one halfway around the world. I think about when I was growing up. We all lived in the same state. All of our family came to my grandparents house at Christmas. All the brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and assorted relatives. It was a loud, crazy, comforting time. My Gammy was a very proper southern lady. You didn’t drink, smoke, curse, or speak ill of your neighbor around her. She taught me the meaning of “bless your heart”, which if you aren’t southern, is not a compliment. She worked in a ladies dress shop in Marietta, GA. Each holiday she would give my mother beautiful, lace, pink dressing gowns. I always dreamed of getting one of those dressing gowns from her. I miss those holiday gatherings. I miss that big family tradition. The pecan tree,the tire swing, the football, the texas sheet cake my aunt Pat would make, and my Pappy saying a hundred times “Gammy, sit down and eat”. I don’t think I ever saw my Gammy sit down and eat with us ever. She was always “doin” something in the kitchen. Filling a bowl, ladling more gravy, pulling more bread out of the oven. She never once, in my entire life, said a cross word to me. When everyone else was against me, she was always my cheerleader. So when I opened that bag today and saw that beautiful lace pink dressing gown, I had myself a good cry. God sent an angel to soothe my hurting heart.
Gift giving is a timeless tradition. Even before the wise men brought the Christ Child gifts to celebrate His birth, people had been giving each other gifts. Abraham’s servant brought gifts to Rebekah and her family when he asked her hand in marriage. Joseph’s brothers brought gifts when they went to Egypt to beg his forgiveness. And of course, people gave gifts to God in gratitude for what He had given them. Only once in the course of human history has someone given us the ultimate gift. That someone was God and His gift was His son, Jesus Christ. I pray that I will always be mindful of His gift to me. I pray that I will listen to Him when He whispers to my heart about the gift that someone else might need. It may seem strange to me but it might be just what they need to soothe their spirit. The value of a gift is not measured in money. Often, the most remembered gifts of all are the ones that are given from the heart.