Showing posts from December, 2018

New Year’s Gift

I always take a year-end beach walk. As I held a small smooth stone, it reminded me of another one given to me a long time ago.
It hadn’t been like our old Christmas celebrations. How could it? It was just Dad and me in an apartment he’d rented downtown. Some of my gifts were still at Mom’s—waiting until I got there for my visit with her. It just seemed so disjointed.
But Dad had tried. He’d bought some ornaments from the dime store and we’d picked out a tree together. 
It didn’t have the family ornaments, but it was something we’d done together.
On Christmas morning, after opening presents, Dad fixed his legendary scrambled eggs. If so much had to change, I was thankful the delicious eggs didn’t have to.
From the kitchen nook he called out that there was still another gift—tucked in the tree branches. I started perusing the limbs and noticed a small box—kind of like a jewelry box. It hadn’t been wrapped, so I opened the box and inside was a polished rock—so smooth it begged to be tou…

O Little Town of Bethlehem

The ornate Bethlehem church sits on the supposed site where Jesus was born. As I scanned the valley below the church grounds, I imagined shepherds watching their flocks. 
Nearby caves provided shelter. Mangers tucked inside those stone caverns were used to feed and water their animals. I followed the others as we descended uneven steps leading downwards into the earth. 
The stone walls cut off sounds from above and I no longer felt Bethlehem’s late afternoon breeze. 

With no room at the local inn, a young mom was about to give birth far from home. The small alcove in the earthen cave was all the privacy she would have. 
The stones felt cold to my hand.
Even with some straw, the floor would have been so hard for the laboring mother. I imagined the lowly shepherds coming here from the field nearby. 

For an angel had told them, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to…

Sister Gift

You probably need to have a sister to know what it’s like to have a sister-gift. But for my sis and I, it was a hard-fought battle to become friends. 
Two years apart in age and perpetually disagreeing on nearly everything, we could even fight about breathing the same air. 
By the time we reached our middle school years, we’d already determined to travel as far away from each other’s interests. She rode horses; I played tennis.
Then the bumpy ride into adulthood came and somehow our sisterhood made life more bearable. The poverty that accompanied the beginnings of independence, became a kindred experience we shared—that along with food and transportation when needed. 
We now live miles apart, but our hearts remain closer than ever. We laugh at our beginnings.  What a gift it is to share life with the one person in the world who knows me from those beginnings. 
As a bonus, my sister was born on Christmas. I didn’t know it for a long while, but she was the sister-gift God knew I needed…

The Appreciated Gift

He wouldn’t want many to know how dreadful the cancer journey has been. For some of us, who’d known him for a lifetime, he gave us an opportunity to come alongside and pray. 
Cancer is a scourge. But life with cancer need not be. 
That’s the appreciated gift I received from my cancer-in-remission-friend. 

Even though the remission is likely to be short-lived, he refuses to live a short-lived life. 
His faith in God’s provision is stronger. Family is a treasure. Life’s celebrations are memorable and joyous. The career that’s provided so much, is providing even more. 

He already knew these things, but through the lens of mortality, it’s far more clear. 
My friend is living with the expectant hope of new treatments. Yes, God provides. But as my friend waits, he cherishes the life he has now. 
He has shown me how to live with purpose, passion, and a stronger faith. As I celebrate this season, appreciating life is the best gift to have.

The First Gift

It was always the first gift to arrive—a large box of fresh oranges from my grandparents. It would be delivered the first week of December. This was back when most of our daily fruit came from a tin can. 
To have a fresh orange was a treat. Christmas was a still a few weeks away, but there were enough oranges that I could enjoy one-a-day until then.

What’s interesting as I recall those days—I can remember the box of fruit, but I can’t remember many of the gifts that were neatly wrapped under the tree.

So, as I ponder what gifts to give, with hopes that they will be remembered—it may not be the ones tied with fancy ribbons and bows. 
But for me, it just took a lifetime of perspective to realize it.

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