Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The other day a friend brought me a present.  She said, pointing to a cute little pink gift bag, "That's for you.  It's kind of silly.  Just something little."  

Why do we feel the need to apologize for the gifts we give?  Why aren't our offerings enough?  Is it because we are conditioned to believe that the receivers opinion of said gift is somehow superior to the givers?  Is it because we place value on money and size first, and offering of oneself second, and sometimes never.

My little Ellie (don't tell her I called her little), was recently invited to a birthday party.  This friend is often referred to as "My Best Friend".  She immediately knew what she wanted to give.  "I know just what I am going to give her mommy!  My cowgirl dress-up.  She loves horses and being a cowgirl."  In my knee jerk, and worldly conditioned, response I mentioned she might want to buy something instead of giving something she already had. She came over to the dark side for a tiny bit, but ended up back in the same general direction.  Trying to make me happy, she talked of giving her a most prized dress up that she just got for Christmas.

I chose to see the wisdom and grace in her instinctual offering of herself to her friend, and backed off.  We washed the cowgirl dress.  We bought a plain white gift bag, that she decorated beautifully with stickers she had just received from her own birthday.  We added a cowgirl hat and some 'super fancy' tissue paper, tied it with a pretty bow (making sure it was long enough for her to use in her hair because Ellie had seen her wear the colors in the ribbon lots), and headed to the party.  It was a beautiful moment.  My children teach me so much.

This friend of mine, labored in her garden, with her own two hands, in order to bring me something.  She has five young children.  She is a busy lady with large responsibilities resting on her shoulders, both familial and in our church community.  The three daffodil bulbs she shared with me are worth far more than anything she could have purchased.  I understand that she was offering me a part of herself.  She gave of what she had.  I loved it for many reasons.  I am fairly certain that my words were insufficient in convincing her that her gift was enough.  I hope she knows.

We just built a home.  We have a barren yard (except for a few other transplants she brought over last fall, and planted for me!).  I am thrilled that I will be able to see those three daffodils growing and blooming, come next spring.  That 'silly little something' is perfect.

Scurrying around, buying, buying, buying.  Quite possibly a bit less consumerism and a whole lot more giving of self is just what this world needs.  At least, it's what I need.  It's what I thrive on.  I like to thrive.  What do we prove with gift lists longer than Rapunzel's locks?  That we are somehow most awesome and worthy because we can buy a bunch of stuff, wrap it really cute and send it on its merry way.  Maybe we just prove that we can spend money.

Please don't take offense if you have given me something.  I am well aware that there are those that live in a place where love is spending and buying.  I get it.  I am grateful for those offerings.  Not because of the thing that it is, but because I seek to know the giver and understand what their offering meant for them.  

Seeing the giver is what makes presents worth anything at all.  Take the Savior, he offered us each a gift.  This gift is intangible, and yet worth far more than any thing you could purchase in this world.  There is no amount of money that could equal its worth.  There is no thing greater in size.  It is the most perfect, and grandest gift of all.  And yet, His gift does nothing for us, until we first choose to see the giver.

See the giver and accept what is given.  Be the giver and give from the heart.  See the ultimate giver and graciously accept all the He has to offer.

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