My parents gave me an incredible gift about gifts. Early on, often driven by economics and supply, the theme of holidays and birthdays, was simple; “the gift is right when it has someone’s name on it.” Money wasn’t a factor. Fashion not important. Knowing the giver had search and identified something that he or she believed was “marked” for the receiver was the criteria. I was never sure if the family approach to this was driven by a lack of money, limited amount of things available to buy within our budget, or an idealistic goal to put gift giving in perspective. Whatever the rationale, the idea took a firm hold.
I used to think this was unique. I now realize the best gift-givers throughout history have followed the same practice; a gift isn’t about the money, it is about the heart.
Once, when Jesus was invited to a meal, “Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus' feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.” (John 12.3) Everyone knew she couldn’t afford the gift. Some got the point, others missed and it launched a barrage of criticism in Mary’s direction.
When I reflect on the gifts I have recently been given, on formal occasions and out of the blue, I find myself rich beyond belief. Friends and family have thought and given from the heart. A few gifts were expensive in the world’s terms; in truth they were all priceless! I could see the logic behind each one. I found myself stunned as I began to appreciate the thought behind the simple process.
I carry two thoughts for you. Take time to remember the gift God has given you and me. God gives us the gift of recreation – we can be everything we were originally created to be. Nothing stands in our way; karma will not haunt, failures cannot prevent, and success is not an entry stamp. Second, every moment is an opportunity to give others what we have been given.
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