When I was a little girl my father had his own business. I would love going to the store with him on Saturdays. I would get to work at the cash and put items in bags, or I would use the super-cool sticker gun and get to price items. I'd hang out in the break room and have fun with the staff - it was pretty much a dream place for a kid to hang out. The best time would be Christmas. All the toys would come in, and my brothers and I would get a first look at it all and our wish lists would change every time we went to the store.
Then the craze hit, the year that I remember the most.
The year of the Cabbage Patch Kid.
The hottest item ever. Moms all over North America were getting into fist fights to get that one doll for Christmas. What a great year to have a dad who owned a store! Who controlled the entire inventory, and could get to the shipment as it arrived, and put aside my favourite Christmas gift ever - my blonde haired Cabbage Patch Kid. It was an exciting Christmas morning that year as I opened her up, found the birth certificate and discovered her name!
That doll was very special to me. It now is in the possession of my daughter after all these years. But even more special to me, even if I couldn't fully articulate it then was that my father put me first. He could have said, "Well, this is a business. Customers come first. If there are any leftover, I'll see if I can get you one... But he didn't do that. Before those dolls went out on the floor, he picked one for me. Maybe that sounds like cheating, maybe that seems like favouritism. But that one act during Christmas has resounded in my heart all these years. It wasn't about the gift. it was about the love of the giver.
As I shop for my own family at Christmas each year, and follow wish lists that seem to change all the time it is never about the gifts. It's about the love of the giver. My love for those around me and how I want to bless them with gifts that I know will make them happy. They will know the love I have for them, not just because of the gift but the love behind the gift. It's more than just a present under the tree.
I see this in my heavenly father. Is there any greater love in a giver? He thought of us first when he sent us his only son Jesus as the greatest gift, and his gifts keep flowing in our lives. I can look back over my life, good times and bad and share an extensive inventory of his gifts that show his great love for me. Gifts that I treasure. Gifts that will last forever in my heart.
He has good gifts for us all. It started with precious baby Jesus, but the love of the giver - it never ends.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!