I’m not sure exactly when she started giving her perfect Christmas gifts to me, but it became a tradition I anticipate each year.
Somewhere during her middle school years, my daughter began making homemade Christmas gifts for me. At her age, she had no resources except the money we gave her for allowance. She could hardly buy all her family gifts with those insignificant funds, so she resorted to the next best thing—which in reality was the better thing. Homemade gifts.
I don’t remember the very first gift she gave me, but I’m sure my eyes brimmed with tears as they always do when I receive another one of her well-thought out gifts. One of the earlier ones I have neatly tucked away was somewhat of a life journey of memories. Once upon a time when cassette tapes were the most novel form of musical technology, my father built a wooden case as a storage bin for his and mom’s plethora of cassettes. Somewhere along the way, my daughter became the proud owner. But now that CD’s had taken over the music world, she had no further use for it. In each compartment, she glued paraphernalia of our life journey together. Just little inexpensive items. They cost her nothing except time, but they demonstrated her love and expressed appreciation for the memories.
Another year—after she had graduated from college, I received a frame with two pictures of her and me and the poem “My Daddy’s Hand” in between. I’m sure the poem and/or song had been around for some time, but I had never heard or read it before. It simply said:
Daddy, take my hand in yours and you will plainly see,
How very much I need you now to love and care for me.
As my little hand grows, I will need you even more,
Everything I do in life, I have never done before.
Teach me to be kind and loving, sharing and forgiving,
Show me through your acts of love the pure joy of living.
The years will pass by quickly and one day I will be grown,
I will pass what you have taught me onto children of my own.
Hold me always in your thoughts and remember when we are apart,
The special love between a child and a daddy’s heart.
Since she and I had hiked the mountains of South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia together for four to five years, it was only natural that she’d give me a gift relating to our experiences. And she did. A shadow box that housed a picture from our trek on a section of the North Carolina Tennessee Appalachian Trail, a small rock, and a Bible verse that read; “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.” (II Samuel 22:2-3)
Another year brought a homemade booklet that was made of construction paper and bound together with twine entitled, “What Hiking Means to Me.” Inside were pictures of hikes we took together along with lessons she had learned from our many excursions over high mountains, through deep valleys, and across raging streams.
There were a few years during college when life got busy for her. Studying all hours of the night, college life, sorority meetings, hanging out with friends, trying to manage a boyfriend. Sure I knew she still loved me, but I missed the homemade gifts. They required time and thought. More than simply going to a store and picking up some meaningless item just to say I gave Dad a present.
But now the gifts continue. She has secured a decent job where she can use her educational skills, is a mom, has her own place, and is settled. So as this year approaches, I’m anticipating another perfect Christmas gift. Since we now have a grandson, I’m sure the gift will probably relate to him. And that’s perfectly acceptable. Whatever it is—as long as it comes from her heart to mine, it will be the perfect Christmas gift.
Perhaps what the wise men brought to the boy Jesus didn’t appear to be perfect gifts, but in some way I’m sure they were. “They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11 NLT) Contrary to what is normally portrayed, Jesus wasn’t still in the manger when they arrived but was one to two years old and living in a home with his parents.
For a future king, these were perfect Christmas gifts. Gold was fit for kings and would certainly help a poor family like this and would finance their trip to Egypt and later back to Nazareth. Frankincense was given to deity, which he certainly was as the God man. And myrrh was a spice for a person who was going to die, which he would do in a short 30 years.
I look forward to my daughter’s perfect Christmas gifts each year, but more importantly I must consider what should be my perfect gift to the Savior who has given so much to me? My gift should not only come at Christmas but extend throughout the entire year. And what gift does he desire? My undivided loyalty and a love that extends from my heart, soul, and mind.
Will you give Jesus the perfect gift this Christmas?