The best gifts may not be immediately visible PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marie Bowen, Executive Director of Presbyterians Pro-Life   

Fotolia 93207686 SOne Christmas gift from my Dad stands out—not as much for the gift itself, although it was great—but more for the enduring nature of its lessons that continue to teach after more than 50 years.

It was a big box in a plain brown wrapper with a tag for the three oldest children in our large family. We couldn't have been more excited! We tore into the wrapping only to find another box and another. Crumpled newspapers stuffing each box flew in all directions as we eagerly sought to find the gift inside. Somewhat deflated we finally came upon a really small box with a folded note inside. A note is what we are getting for Christmas? I swallowed my disappointment and hoped that the note would lead us outside to something really big that couldn't be wrapped. I don't remember the exact words, but the note informed us that we could choose one male calf from the barn, raise it for a year, and then sell it at auction and buy bicycles with the money. oh. . .OH!

Dad's gift was genius. We learned so many things that year.

Immediately in front of us was the need to choose the right calf. Dad explained that there was no way to know which calf would remain healthy, grow fat, and bring a good price. We went with a black Angus that turned into a nice fat steer. We had to wait and carry through on the responsibility of feeding and caring for the steer for what seemed like a terribly long time. We sat through the excruciating emotions of anxiety, expectation, and high hopes as the auction took place. We said goodbye to a steer for whom we gained a certain fondness. The steer sold for top dollar and we were able to buy three top-of-the-line Schwinn bicycles in the colors of our own choosing. Those bikes saw years of wear and tear and took us places we could not go on foot. We each gained a sense of independence, hours of fun, and grew strong and healthy. Dad's gift grew over time and was oh so much better than anything we imagined to be in the big box.

During Advent we celebrate another 'hidden' gift

God's gift of the Savior, Jesus, Messiah, came as a tiny cell packaged in the womb of Mary. Mary was given a word by the angel Gabriel, a promise thatFotolia 95882558 M he would "save his people from their sins." But in that moment, I'm sure she had no imagination for the greatness of the gift. Certainly those around her had no understanding that the Messiah, for whom they waited and hoped and prayed, had already come! For Mary, God's gift required time for the baby Jesus to develop and grow. She grew heavy with child and just when her belly was huge and movement became difficult she and Joseph were called to go to Bethlehem. She persevered through labor and delivery in primitive surroundings. Surely she must have experienced some deflation of her dreams about the moment of his birth. Mary's steadfast faith is a model for us. Her humble trust from the first was expressed in her response to the angel, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38 ESV).

There are lessons to be learned from the giving of gifts.

The lessons we learn from Christmas gifts have application for moms and dads feeling desperate in an unplanned or difficult pregnancy and for individuals facing the end of life and their families. Some of those things that apply include:

  • We ought to pay attention to the choices we make.
  • We ought never to assume we know the end of a thing or imagine the fullness of the glory God has in mind for us.
  • We ought to trust in the love of the Giver and his heart toward us.
  • Time, labor and perseverance are faithful responses that yield more blessing that we can imagine.

God's gift of the Savior requires faith in the midst of darkness. We are called to the light of expectation and hope. God's gift calls for us to persevere and trust his promise in the face of emptiness, trust in his fulfillment of things yet unseen. God's word has been given and we are called to believe what is written of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection and Jesus' own promises that he will return. Advent calls the faithful to wait while the full meaning of God's gift of salvation in Jesus Christ continues to break over us like the dawn, layer by layer, year by year, ever increasing in its wonder and glory.

More Christmas Articles from PPL:

A Tiny Human Embryo is King of Kings!

Happy Birthday (A Children's Sermon)

Peace, Joy, and Love at Christmas

Holy Spirit Encounter in the Womb

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!



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