Monday, January 01, 2007

The Best Gift

My 16 year old daughter was low on cash this year, so her choices for presents were limited. When my doctor put me on a severely restrictive diet five days before Christmas, Christine despaired. So much for her standard ideas of either chocolate or special tea, my favorites. So she gave what she had – a bit of herself. A whiz at computer graphics and a budding writer in her own merit, she wrote two poems, one each for my husband and me, stylizing them on the computer, complete with color graphics. My poem is entitled “These Hands” and my husband’s poem is entitled, ‘The Man in the Pulpit.” Then she worked with her sister to sift though our collection of digital photos, then put six select family photos in a collage photo frame.

As my husband, a typical tough man, started to open the folder containing his poem, he said, “Oh my! I think I’m going to cry.” My hand immediately felt my pocket-did I have my usual stash of Kleenex? By the time we opened the picture frame we were both bawling. I said to someone later, “You give to y our children year after year. Then they start giving back.”

But I was wrong. My children have always given me a bit of themselves. I still treasure the wobbly cut poster board angel ornament with scribbled features and the shellacked wreath fashioned from scrap puzzle pieces. As a parent, I give out of my abundance, often buying frivolous presents they want but don’t need, even (I admit) buying useless things just to even the score between the two girls. The best gifts are those where we share a part of who we are to touches and acknowledge who they are.

That’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ gave the ultimate gift – Himself. Philippians 2 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature, God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness; And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).” Jesus gave all of himself to touch who we are: sinners in need of a Savior.

My goal this new year is to give as Jesus gave: to give of myself to touch the deepest needs of others and to acknowledge and celebrate who they are. I can learn to do that by deepening my relationship with Jesus who has given me so much and by watching the children I teach Inside My Classroom.

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