A few days ago I received a package in the mail. It was addressed to me with the return address of the on-line business that shipped it.
Inside was a lovely necklace, but no packing slip or anything to indicate who had purchased the gift.
Not knowing who the giver was, I wasn’t sure the jewelry was actually meant for me. It might have been the result of an ordering or shipping mix-up. If it was meant for me, I had no way of knowing who to thank for the gift.
Rather than feeling grateful and pleased, I was uneasy.
After sharing my dilemma with friends and family, the mystery was solved. The pendant was an early birthday gift from my thoughtful daughter-in-law. Now I can wear my necklace with joy and gratitude that she cares enough about me to give me such a precious gift.
Since this is the Christmas season, thoughts of gifts logically lead to thoughts of the most precious gift of all, God’s son. I began to wonder if the reason so many people struggle with this time of year is because they don’t understand either the gift or the giver.
These people can’t begin to understand the depth of love we Christians celebrate at Christmas if they don’t know who the gift comes from or if it is really meant for them. Not understanding who God is, how can anyone imagine that he would love each one of us enough to give the most costly gift of all.
When I didn’t know if the beautiful necklace was actually meant for me it made me uneasy. I couldn’t enjoy wearing it without wondering if I were depriving someone else of a gift.
Friends’ suggestions of people who might have sent the anonymous present… everyone from high school boyfriends to a “secret admirer” … didn’t help. Such a costly gift, given without an appropriate relationship, seemed just a bit suspect and led me to various fantasy scenarios to explain things and make it seem acceptable.
Once I knew that the gift was from my dear daughter-in-law and granddaughter I could wear the jewelry with joy, pride and gratitude.
That combination of great joy, pride and gratitude is what Christians feel at this time of year.
In order to savor a gift it is necessary to have a relationship with the giver. The more intimate the relationship, the greater the joy.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come.
What a gift. To appreciate it more fully, get to know the Giver.