Monday, December 12, 2016

The Gift of Gifts

One of the reasons I love working where I do is the people. I have worked there for 18+ years and many of the people are like family to me. This time of year is especially fun because I get to be an elf. Not for Santa though. For my wife!

Each year my wife bakes dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies. Yet, strangely, we don't eat many of them. That's because she gives most of them away to family and friends. It's gotten to the point where my wife's cookies have become part of the Christmas tradition in the lives of other people.

We usually get together with some life-long friends at this time of year, Dick and Lana. We eat, we talk, we laugh. But the highlight of the night, at least for me, is watching Dick's eyes light up when my wife gives him a plate of her Christmas cookies. He can hardly keep from eating them right then and there. Lana has said she has to hide them from him when they get home.

Just the other day at work a former co-worker of mine walked into my cube. Smiles, hugs, how thoughtful that my friend came to visit me, I thought. Until this question came out.

"Bev usually sends her plate of Christmas cookies in with you around this time of year, doesn't she? I was just talking to Laura about your wife's cookies and she thought maybe you could send me an e-mail when that happens."

People love my wife's cookies. Why? Well, they're pretty darn tasty! But I think that there is a deeper reason - a subliminal, underlying reason they love them. I think it's because they love receiving gifts that someone has actually made themselves, especially for them. It's special. It's unique.

I think hand-made gifts are often the best because part of ourselves are actually IN the gift. The gift wouldn't even be there if is wasn't for their creator.

[Sounds like a perfect segue to a story about God and HIS gifts, doesn't it? Ha ha!]

I have told you before about my favorite Christmas Carol - Little Drummer Boy. A young boy came before the baby Jesus with nothing to give as a gift to the newborn King except for the gift God had already given him - the ability to play the drum. In this sense, God loves re-gifting.

What is YOUR gift? How can you "package" it to give to someone else?

I have a friend at work who "plays her drum" by teaching others how to sew - a gift SHE was given by God. Now she shares it with others through the giving of her time.  Another friend's gift is her voice. She sings in her church's choir, she sings at funerals, she uses her gift to make the lives of others better and more enjoyable.

Several years ago, when I was part of a youth group, I was invited along to document a unique Christmas gift with my camera. A bunch of high school kids, members of the school's Madrigal Singers, were walking around town singing Christmas carols. They stopped at people's houses and sang a song, then asked the residents to join them which many did. What an amazing gift! It cost them nothing, but at the same time, it was a priceless gift.

It doesn't take much time or money to let someone else know that you love them. It doesn't take that much time and effort to pray or offer up thanks to God for giving YOU the gifts He has. May this day be your gift to someone else who could use a hug or some food or a priceless gift . . . the gift of a gift.

"38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” - Luke 6:38

Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix

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