My parents gave one gift to my brothers and me early in our lives. It was not the normal kind of gift. Rather it was the gift of how to choose gifts for another. From my earliest memories, I knew gifts were special, important, and real if they had “names” on them. When the gift had an individual's name, it did not matter how much the gift cost, or did not. The fact that the gift was needed or was frivolous was another fact one could, should, and often did ignore. Even it usability of gift took second place to the relevance to the recipient. The quest was always about finding something special. Gifts needed to have an individual's name on it, ideally intuitively. One just knew.
I do not think I have been 100% successful at passing this on to those around me, but the quest is a worthy one. I am not the first to pursue this response to the opportunity to give something to another. Examples are scattered across history. In one instance, when a crippled beggar pleaded for money, “Peter said, 'I don't have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!'” (Acts 3.6) In the instant of hearing “I don't”, I am sure the beggar's heart sunk. In was the last dip before a single gift forever changed his life! Peter's gift was the perfect response – it has his name all over the response.
I find the wonder of gift giving to be a lost art. We can make a difference in the lives around us. A simple smile and hug when one really needs it can be truly priceless. A gift of a cup of coffee, timed to that perfect moment of need, speaks volumes. We can step beyond stereotypes and nurture another's journey. We can pay attention to the community as a way of taking care of our souls. We can pick up gifts with names, doing for others what God does for us.
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