This morning I read the Upper Room Devotional, which was all about gift-giving, and it reminded me of the Christmas when I got my American Girl Doll. I loved Addy so, so much, and treated her as if she were my own, real, live baby (as much as a 5 year old can, at least).
I always appreciate receiving an extra-thoughtful gift, but a lot of times, giving is even more fulfilling than receiving. It feels good to pick out the perfect gift for someone and see them break into a huge smile when they open it up. When I find something I just know someone will love, it is usually really hard for me to wait to give it to them! This recently happened when I was in Marshall’s and came upon lots of extremely cute, festive Christmas tree ornaments. I found one that was a squirrel with a santa hat and acorn. It was perfect for Annie, so of course I snatched it up.
Aubrey, Annie, and I had just decided that we weren’t going to give each other any material gifts this year, but I could not resist. The weekend after I bought her the ornament it just so happened that I was going to see Annie a few days later for Thanksgiving! Not only could I not wait until Christmas to give her this little squirrely surprise, I couldn’t even wait until Thanksgiving.
Almost immediately after I opened her apartment door for a short visit on my way home for the holiday I said, “I have a treat for you!!!!” We went out to the car and when Ange saw the ornament (I didn’t even have time to wrap it in more than a shopping bag!) she smiled so big and squealed, “Ooooooooh I love it!!!!!!” Isn’t that the greatest feeling ever, when you know you picked the best thing for someone, and they love it?
The joy that I felt in seeing Annie appreciate the gift I gave her reminds me how God feels the same way when we recognize Jesus as God’s greatest gift to us. I’m sure God anticipates our joyful reactions to the unconditional, extraordinary love God has for us, and wants us to delight in the gift of Jesus more than any other gift we are given.
It is pretty amazing that God loves us so much that Jesus would be given to us as a model of perfect love, grace, and forgiveness. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the gifts of the holiday season and not recognize the most joyful gift of all that we were given so long ago in the form of a precious little baby.