Diamond Necklaces, Spaghetti Boxes, and Play-Doh Hearts

Holiday gift-giving creates in people a vast array of feelings from peace to stress, from celebration to sadness and everything in-between. Being in the jewelry business, I see diamonds and watches and pearls and gold and silver being purchased to surprise and delight loved ones. There are those buying with true joy and excitement in their heart, and there are those buying out of obligation or some sense of duty. Some people spend thousands of dollars, some look for the least expensive bauble, but usually the goal is to give a gift expressing love to the recipient.

The flurry of the season certainly involves gift exchange, but it also brings to mind peace and goodwill. This week-end I was humbled and awed by a co-worker. Being in retail, at Christmas we work 60-70 hours each week. My friend planned all week so that on her one day off, she could cook a bunch of spaghetti and cornbread, put it in individual containers, take a folding table down to Edgewood drive in Atlanta, and hand out meals to the homeless and to those who needed a meal. It took less than 30 minutes to bless many folks who were hungry, and they were able to walk away feeling happy with their treasured meals. What a beautiful servant’s heart my friend showed! Her selflessness impacted my soul in a mighty way.

In a different vein of thoughtfulness, my daughter, who is in her first job out of college, went to her very first business dinner. Her boss brought along her 2 year old daughter. The toddler was in a crowd of adults – remember those fun times from when you were a kid? Oh man! Be quiet…have good manners…don’t touch that… The only good thing about it was that you were guaranteed a pretty steady stream of snacks. This tot’s mom had brought Play-doh to keep her daughter occupied. Little did mom know, kids and Play-doh are some of my daughter’s favorite things, and she ended up sitting near the girl. So my 23 year-old daughter got to “play” at her work dinner. The best part, for both girls, was the Play-doh heart my daughter made for the toddler, which was cradled like it was a special prize as the little one left to go home. My daughter gave a gift to the girl: she felt seen and important. She gave a gift to the girl’s mom, someone cared about her child.

Gifts don’t have to be expensive to spark joy. A gift is anything we give from what we have. As believers in Jesus, the absolute best thing we have to give is the love of and our knowledge of Jesus. He is complete love. He is the ever-present friend. He is enough. He fills and satisfies. He gives perfect peace. He brings joy. The apostles Peter and John were on the way to worship at the temple when a lame man stopped them. Peter said, “I do not have silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” And grasping him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” Acts 3:6-9.  Peter gave the greatest gift he could give and it wasn’t the physical healing. It was attention. It was telling the man that He mattered. It was Jesus! I Corinthians 8:12 says, “the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”

If you don’t know Jesus in a way that you can give him to others, I pray that you receive the gift of Him. If you do have Jesus to give, give freely! It costs us nothing and gives to others everything.

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