She’s so thankful for those toes!
Some of the most memorable gifts that we receive do not come from department stores and cannot be ordered online. Some gifts, in fact, are so out of the ordinary that they carry a value that cannot be measured monetarily. Gale received one of those kinds of gifts last week that almost brought her to tears when she saw what was unwrapped. If you are waiting to hear me reveal that I gave her a diamond so big that I just could not wait until Christmas to present it to her, you are absolutely wrong. In fact, I suspect that if she had a choice between a big diamond and what she got the other day, she would choose the latter.
What was being unwrapped was her foot, and what she felt a surge of emotions about was seeing that she now has two straight toes which had previously been painfully deformed. After suffering with her condition for most of her adult life, along with the extra trauma from standing on hard school floors for many years and enduring her feet being smashed by numerous children throughout her career, having her toes repaired was worth more than can be calculated.
By now the madness of gift buying and all the other activities that we have incorporated into this glorious season are in full swing. What should be a time of peace and joy can quickly turn into such a mad rush that it becomes depressing instead of refreshing.
As we think about gifts, we can rejoice because of the gift that God sent to us in the form of a tiny baby centuries ago. Christ was born in Bethlehem so He could provide for us spiritually in ways that would be impossible for us to earn or achieve on our own. It is now our responsibility to accept His gift of grace and allow it to transform our lives into faithful devotion to Him.
The Bible gives us guidance on making use of God’s gifts in our lives; we should heed the instruction found in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (New International Version). I do not have to be concerned if my wife will use her gift of toes that look normal now; she can hardly wait for them to fully heal so she can carry on with improved comfort as she serves others. For followers of Christ, it is both our responsibility and our honor to put into full use the gifts that God has granted each of us to use for His glory and for the good of others.
It is a bit disappointing when we go to the effort to select and present a gift to someone we love, convinced that it is exactly what they would like to have, only to learn that it remained in the box and was never used. It reminds me of a scene from the Christmas movie Home Alone 2 in which one of the key characters, Kevin, shares with a homeless lady about his receiving a pair of roller blades but never using them; when he tried to use them he found that he had outgrown them and they were useless. While that is only a movie scene, it provides a reminder for real life: we need to use our God-given gifts now while we still can.
We cannot control what others do with the gifts that we give them, but we can choose to use the gifts that God pours into our lives. Even if that gift is as simple as straightened toes!