by Chaplain (Maj.) Olga Westfall, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Dobbins Air Reserve Base
During this holiday season many people are trying to find the right gifts for the right people. My children can't wait until Christmas because they know they will have new gifts to unwrap.
If you go to the shopping malls and stores you will find that people are buying things that they usually don't buy during other times of the year. Finding the right gift for the right person is a very important task.
A gift, although it may not tell the true worth of the recipient, conveys the value and importance that the giver has toward the recipient. Gifts are given for the purpose of strengthening relationships, or mending a broken one. It is a symbol of good will.
Different people have different ways of evaluating the rightness of the gift. Some people believe that the right gift comes with the financial value associated with it. That is, the more financially valuable the gift is, the closer it moves to the category of being right. Others believe that the gift is right if it meets the particular need of the recipient.
The most expensive gift may not be the right gift at all if it does not meet the need of the recipient. A gift is considered right if it is wrapped with pure motive in the heart of the giver. The "Trojan Horse" in spite of its enormous size and its financial value, was not a gift at all because of the motive and the reason why it was given.
I heard a story about a young father who punished his three-year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became angry when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. The next morning the little girl brought the box to her father. He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box empty. He yelled at her telling her that there must be something in the box for it to be a gift.
"Oh, Daddy, it is not empty," said the little girl with tears in her eyes. "I blew kisses into the box, all for you, Daddy."
As look back in my life I see many "gifts" that God has blessed me with. The journey of life was not always easy but as I traveled it I "un-wrapped" many gifts. Some of them made me happy and some were necessary for my correction and spiritual growth.
This quote helps me to keep things in perspective: "Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like an algebra class, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime."
As we frantically seek to buy gifts for others, let me ask you, what is the gift you would want to receive? I hope that in a midst of all the business and holiday stress we would be able to reflect on the most important gift - the gift of God's unconditional love. It is free and it is available to everybody who opens his heart to embrace it.
Regardless of the price tag, the gifts we give are temporary. They don't last for a long time. If you give your loved one a new car this holiday season, in a few years that car will break down. The clothes that you give will eventually be worn out. Everything will pass in time. But the Bible reminds us that God's gift last forever. His gift is eternal.
When receiving this gift, we "un-wrap" many other blessings that God has in store for us through the remaining journey of life.