Helping in the RMA store this week an eldery woman came in. She was grumpy. Have you ever noticed that people either grow old gracefully or grouchy? She talked about how the government was to blame for her financial situation. She complained about how they were trying take her social security and how she lived on so little as it was. She complained about not having gifts to give her grandchildren for Christmas. I stayed quiet for as long as I could.
“You know, I was very close to my grandmother. As a child she was everything to me. She passed away in 1999 and I miss her so terribly much most days. Can I tell you that I don’t remember a single Christmas or birthday gift she gave me? Oh, don’t misunderstand, I was grateful and everything she gave me she gave with love, like you, she had modest means and did the best she could.”
“Can I tell you what I do remember? I remember her stopping her housework to sweep me up in her arms and dance with me in her living room. I remember standing on a chair in her kitchen helping make dinner. I remember baking cookies with her. I remember learning to crochet and sew with her. I remember snuggling up in bed with her when I spent the night and how we would talk and giggle long into the night. I remember running errands with her or advice she gave me. I remember working in the garden with her and learning about herbs and their remedies. I remember sitting at her dining room table playing game after game of Crazy Eights. I remember her massaging my back when I couldn’t sleep. I remember her singing to me and her hugs and her love and the fact that she thought everything I did was special.”
The real meaning of Christmas is relationship with one another. I don’t need a day on the calendar to give a gift or to get one. What I treasure, what stays with me in my heart is the time she spent developing her relationship with me. The memories remain long after any gift did. The gift she gave was more precious than any Christmas memory because it was heartfelt. It was born in love and nurture.
Just as Jesus was born to restore us back to our heavenly Father, no earthly gift is more memorable. What better gift could be given than the gift of our love towards one another? This Christmas I pray you get the real gift of Christmas. The gift of some time with loved ones and the gift of serving one another in love. The same gift the Son of the Most High God came to give us!
One thought on “The Real Gift”
I wish more people thought this way.
I am friends with an older client and she is so bitter, angry and vengeful. She takes every opportunity to dress people down or “put them in their place”, which means the place she designates for them. Watching her live out this negative thought pattern at the end of her life is warning to me. I want to live without any sense of entitlement (referencing your last entry) or thought about who owes me what. I pray the love I plant in other people’s hearts bears fruit like a Christmas present can’t.
Like you, I can’t remember very many Christmas presents, but I do remember the relationships. Thanks for the reminder