Some of the best gifts I've ever received didn't come wrapped in pretty paper and elaborate bows. They weren't gifts that could be snatched up in a last-minute-shopping frenzy. And they certainly didn't come with gift receipts that could be silently returned in exchange for something 'better'.
No, some of the best gifts I've received came in tiny packages of quiet, but wise, words. Or lessons taught by silent actions. Or barely visible glimpses from the past that stilled me just long enough to squint my eyes and focus on a gift that had remained unopened, almost pushed aside. At least until the exact moment when I remembered and unwrapped the gift for what it truly was.
Since I entered this wonderful world of motherhood, I've purposed myself to be intentional in the things that I am giving my daughter. The gifts that I am wrapping up and presenting to her as treasure. Gifts that I want her to gaze upon for years to come and behold them as priceless.
1. Jesus. He created you. Knew you by name before I ever could dream of being a mommy. Invite Him with you. Wherever you go.
2. My arms. They are your safe place. Whether you are within arm's reach or miles away. These arms will always be wrapped tight around you.
3. My heart. It will always be home for you. Because there isn't a moment when you aren't there. Buried deep, treasured and adored.
4. Prayer. Simply a conversation with our Father. Cry out to Him. Sing to Him. Shout to Him. He wants to hear from you.
5. Tears. Crying cleanses the soul. And every tear that has fallen or will fall from your beautiful blue eyes has been collected in a bottle. And held in the loving hands of your Creator. Let them fall freely and often. He cares. He knows.
6. Love. It is patient and kind. It most certainly does not boast or brag or puff itself up. It is calm-natured and puts others first. It does not keep a score chart of hurt feelings and wrong doings. It makes no way for evil. It protects. Honors. Cherishes. Trusts. And hopes.
7. Fruit. Not bananas and apples and oranges and such. But love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Taste. And you will see that God is good.
8. Bread. Two tiny loaves can feed thousands. But it was also broken for you. So that you may live. Feed your soul with it. Fill up your heart with it. And then share it with those around you, so that they may no longer be hungry.
These won't be the gifts under the tree this year.
Instead, they will be gifts my daughter receives by how I live my life. The things I say to her. The tone of voice I use when I speak to her. And everyone else. The way I respond to situations. My actions. My words. My prayers. The amount of time I devote to reading the Word. I choose to wrap them up and give them to her each and every day.
There will be moments she won't appreciate the gift. Moments when she rolls her eyes or stomps her feet. There will even be moments she doesn't realize the gifts for what they are truly worth. But one day, prayerfully, she will glance back and notice they led her to the Cross. Where the ultimate gift was given. Where His love poured out.
But for now, I give her these gifts to lead her there. To point her in that direction. Where Jesus is. And His holding out His hand.