Better than Sucrets....
Do you remember the first Christmas when you did your own shopping for gifts? I think I was in the fifth grade, and it was a pretty monumental occasion when my parents let my sisters and I go off by ourselves for a few hours in the mall to shop. What a thrilling rite of passage—I felt so grown-up and responsible. But all too soon I realized something about myself that stands true to this day. I’m a bad shopper. I see so many things and then get utterl overwhelmed and can’t make decisions. I saw scarves, wallets, perfume, belts, shirts…so many good options, but couldn’t land on a choice. My older sister was a machine, methodically locating and quickly purchasing what she seemed to already have in her mind, but I wandered in circles while the clock ticked. I don’t remember what I finally picked out for my sisters and dad, but I remember finally settling on a giant “ankh” pendant for my mom because they were “in” at that time, and my mom liked big pendants on long chains.
I wrapped the necklace in a Sucrets box and put it under the tree for my mom. On Christmas morning I remember seeing her unwrap the box, but then I got distracted by something major (a bike or something Santa brought) and never saw my mom open it completely. Later in the day my mom thanked me for the Sucrets and asked me how I knew she had a sore throat. My mom, the gem, actually appreciated what she thought was a box of Sucrets lozenges! I mean, didn’t she think it was a little weird I’d wandered the mall for hours and came up with a box of throat lozenges for her? But bless my mom, she loved it just because she thought it was from my heart. I pulled the necklace out of the lozenge box for her and we had a good laugh. I don’t know if she really liked the necklace or just the story and the love behind it, but she wore it proudly for years.
Gifts given in love are usually treasured, whether a box of lozenges, a piece of costume jewelry, or a priceless diamond. If we know the giver has put thought and time into selecting or making a gift for us, it touches our hearts. You know—the painted pencil cups or colorful macaroni necklaces from kids, or the jog bra my husband humbled himself to hunt down and stand in a huge line of women to get for me. Thinking of them thinking of us is a gift in and of itself….we love being loved.
There was never a gift given with more love, more thought, more planning, more grit and determination, more pain and sacrifice, than when God gave us His Son Jesus. God planned it for centuries and at exactly the right time in history, in the exact little city, in the womb of the perfectly selected young Jewish teenage girl, God gave His eternal gift to the world, to you and to me. Eternal life….hope….peace….unending joy. It is pretty inconceivable how it all came down, but it is without a doubt the greatest gift of love ever given. It is my prayer that this Christmas you grasp a little more how deep and wide and broad and high is the love of Christ for you. I pray the children in your world know that He is why we do all this gift giving, as we remember the gifts only He could give. May you and yours be blown away by His love for you as you “unwrap” a little more this inconceivable gift (it takes over a lifetime to do that, you know!). May His love be yours now and forevermore.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15
Merry Christmas, dear friends,