Don’t you just love this time of year? I do. I love the lights and the bright colors and the holiday music playing over loudspeakers and the smell of pine and cinnamon. I love sneaking around, keeping wonderful secrets and trying to please the people I care about with the perfect gifts.
It never fails. I’ll be standing in Wal-Mart, trying to decide whether to get my niece the pink lava lamp or the purple one, and my head nearly explodes. Honestly, if I were a ten-year-old girl, I would like either color. But I have to decide on one. Pink? Purple? Pink? Purple?
And have you ever looked at Hot Wheels? There are like, a zillion different varieties. Race cars. Spy cars. Police cars. Fire trucks. How in the world am I supposed to know which ones my nephew would prefer? Which ones does he have? What is his favorite color?
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
And it’s no use calling and asking, because then I get the tables turned on me. “Renae, what do you want for Christmas?”
More questions, to which I don’t know the answers. Honestly, I like everything. I like things that smell nice. I like cute little pot-holders and kitchen gadgets. I like music and movies and books and things to wear and things to play with. I like everything.
Just please don’t force me to make up my mind. I don’t like that.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a Perfect Gift store? We could just march in, submit the names and ages of our loved ones, along with our budget needs, and the all-knowing store clerk could run the information through some kind of scanner. Then, voila! The perfect gift would appear, all shiny and gift-wrapped with a big, fat bow. No more decisions. No more splitting headaches, from the stress of it all.
Then again, I suppose that would detract from the meaning of the gift. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? And if we don’t put any thought into a gift, I suppose it doesn’t really count for much.
The perfect gift, I suppose, is simply a gift that reflects the love of the giver. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, though it should come with some sacrifice. After all, if there is no sacrifice involved, what’s the point? Where is the value in such a gift?
God knows that. He loves us more than anything, and He has given us the perfect gift. He knows most of us don’t need another potholder or a scented soap-on-a-rope. What we need is to feel loved. To feel wanted. To feel cherished.
That’s why He gave us the greatest gift of all time. He wanted to have a relationship with each and every one of us so that He could show us how important we are to Him. But that wasn’t possible without a great sacrifice. He gave the most expensive gift of all time – His Son – so that we could know how much He wants us, how He cherishes us. He wanted us to know how very much He loves us.
So He paid the ultimate price. He sent us His Son, born in a stable in
He gave us the perfect gift – His love. He holds it out to us on Christmas day and every day. All we have to do is take it.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.