Mylah’s first birthday is Sunday, so I was shopping for her gifts yesterday. Gifts are important, and I don’t take them lightly when they are given to me or when I give them. Those I know well know what delights me, and I know the same about them. I don’t always know ahead of time, but I know the right gift when I see it. Along with a willingness to search, I must be mindful when God puts the right gift into my path.
Gifts which involve giving yourself are the very best ones. When I was just beginning my journey and had very little money, I would give coupons to friends that could be redeemed for house cleaning, cakes, babysitting, or some other act of love. Acts of love are the always the right gift. I loved fulfilling the promises on those coupons as they were redeemed, so the gift gave back to me. Now that I have more resources, I buy gifts and sometimes give cash. I go backwards in regard to gift giving when I trade time for money. Time is always the right gift and something we have far too little of when it comes to those we love. No gift is greater than time.
My most cherished gifts are those made with love. I still have the sweet Mother’s Day gifts Tyler made for me when he was young. The little clothes pin butterfly and popsicle stick heart are on my refrigerator to remind me each day that the love that went into them is still in them now. I treasure them and would grab them should a disaster cause me to have to evacuate. The perfect gift usually surprises me when I find it as much as it surprises the one who receives it. Those are the ones I let God pick out. I’m still surprised when a gift He selects is just the right one. I know He knows what He’s doing, but I love that it still delights me each time He reminds me. I believe it also delights Him:)
I hope Mylah likes the gifts I found for her. I can’t tell you what they are because that would ruin the surprise. Actually, she wouldn’t find out or even know the difference, but I still want her to be the first one to see them. The beauty of babies is that they love whatever you give them. I could put something I’ve already given her in a box, and she would squeal with delight when she opened it:) I could put nothing in a box, and she would delight in opening it. I love that about children; the older I get, the more I’m getting to be like them. In fact, my memory is such that you could actually wrap up something I already have, and it truly would be a surprise! One of the joys of growing older:)
Giving something that you’ve already given reminds me of a special Christmas when I did just that for Tyler. He was away for his first year of college, so money was tight. I got some new things for him, but I really didn’t have the resources to get much other than the necessities. It seemed sad that he wasn’t going to have a fun present, so I decided to go to the attic and get all his favorite toys out of hiding. As I cleaned GI Joe sets and Ninja Turtles, I smiled and thought of all the fun he and his friends had with them. The remote control car needed charging before I could run it around the house, so I charged the battery and polished it up. The toys kept coming, and I enjoyed each building set and action figure as they reminded me of different legs of the beautiful journey he and I share. Ernie and Freddie Bear took me back to the beginning of his sweet life, and I cried tears of joy as I thought of Ernie waiting for him when he came home for the first time, and Freddie Bear arriving on his first Christmas in Hickory. I was also reminded of the beautiful gift God gave me when Tyler came into my life. Watching Tyler play with all his old toys was the best gift that year and avoiding that remote control car was icing on the cake!
Lillyann and Mylah still play with Ernie, Bambi, Lion, and Freddie Bear; and I use Tyler’s little blankets and pillow with them. Lillyann knows to be very careful with those special toys and loves to hear how daddy loved them. The right gift is the one that is still around decades after it is given. What makes it the right gift is the fact that love not only went into it but also stayed in it. I have to admit that I still go get Ernie, Freddie Bear or a little blanket when I need a hug. I also sometimes sleep with mama’s prayer shawl, a sweet gift my sister gave me after mama died. I cherish the love it represents, and it comforts me in a special way when I wrap it around me.
My home would never be on a design show because my decor consists of gifts that are special to me. They may not match or fit a certain theme, but as I see them all around me, I feel the love they represent and find comfort in each. Experts would surely rid the rooms of all those precious gifts if I gave them license to do so and would even consider them clutter. I know better and plan to leave them just where they are because they reflect my heart and bring love and joy into my home. I hope little Mylah enjoys her gifts, but I hope more that she feels the love that went into them.
I can’t think of gifts without acknowledging the most perfect gift ever, and that is the love Christ brought down on the very first Christmas. He laid down His life in the single greatest act of love ever, and He did it just for me. God’s love, Christ’s grace, and the Holy Spirit’s peace are gifts I cherish more than all others combined. They are gifts that are unique in that once you truly get them, you cannot help but give them away. The more you give them away, the more you have them. They also last forever and can never be snatched away. Now, if that isn’t the perfect gift, I don’t know what is:)