I was at the mall last week picking up photos for our Christmas cards. Although I had already completed Christmas shopping, I checked out a few advertised items at several stores and browsed through Barnes and Noble to see if my book, “God Placed Her in My Path,” was on their shelves yet. It wasn’t!
I observed numerous men who were either pacing, impatiently waiting for their wives to finish a purchase or wandering aimlessly trying to find the last minute priceless/perfect gift for someone special. They all had a far-away, desperate, and vague look on their faces, which indicated to me they felt the chances of getting that perfect gift were slim to zero. One of them spoke frankly to a friend he ran into and I overheard him say jokingly, “I have been searching through the stores, but I don’t have a clue as to what she would like. I think I’m just going to Best Buy next to purchase what ‘I’ really want.”
Out in the hall in front of JC Penney, I bumped into the youth pastor from my church. He was one of those men impatiently waiting for his wife, who was inside the store. It was obvious he was sincerely hoping her transaction would have been completed by then, but she was nowhere in sight. I teased him saying, “I’m surprised to see you here, I would have thought this to be too early for you to shop for Christmas (one week and 2 days before the big day).” He laughingly agreed. I moved on, leaving him hopelessly standing there with one small package in hand, while still stretching his neck to find his wife.
Is there really such a thing as “the perfect gift?” When the day we all so anticipate is over and the wrappings, bows, and tags are in the trash, there still remains an emptiness in our souls that can’t be satisfied by anything material, no matter how precious it once seemed.
This morning my tranquility time was rudely interrupted by a nasty remark from a self-absorbed nineteen-year-old. He thinks he can pop in and out of our home whenever it’s convenient, grab a leftover from the refrigerator (usually something I had planned to serve for the next meal), catch an occasional night’s sleep, but objects when I ask him “please” to drop his laundry, which has been turned right side out, in the laundry room. His barrage was so foul, it even raised my husband’s ire, something that seldom happens.
Just the night before, this young man politely asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied, “I don’t need anything, but let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.” Now, I knew what it was I want most – RESPECT AND APPRECIATION, CONDUCT I CAN BE PROUD OF!!
Wouldn’t you know, God is always on time with the priceless/perfect gift solution? As I was seething with anger from the caustic exchange, trying to get back to tranquility, but determined to delete this boy’s code from the lock on our back door, I opened a little magazine called “Gentle Doves,” by Ruth Olson of Red Wing, MN. This is what she wrote on page 18 of the November/December 2011 issue.
Here is a list of priceless gifts to give for Christmas…
To your enemy – forgiveness
To your opponent – tolerance
To your friends – your heart
To your children – a good example
To your father – deference
To your mother – conduct that will make her proud of you
To yourself – respect
To everyone else – charity
May you receive the most priceless and perfect gift of all, THE PRINCE OF PEACE, who is the only one who can provide the power and strength you need to give these gifts to others!