The middle of January is drawing near, and I am supposed to be writing my Christmas thank-you notes. Actually, by now I think I am supposed to have already mailed my thank-you notes.
To be exact, I’ve only put off writing my thank yous on paper until now. I’ve written them in my head over and over! I keep pondering the lovely, heartfelt gifts my family and I received this Christmas, and I feel so loved. Of course, I don’t usually write a note for every single gift I receive, especially if I’ve already thanked the gift-giver in person. But you know how it is. Some gifts are given with such love, thoughtfulness and effort, that you simply must express your gratitude thoroughly in writing!
Anyone who knows me well knows that gift giving is one of my love languages. It’s how I show loved ones that I know them and care for them and treasure them dearly.
So I suppose the reverse is true to some degree; receiving good gifts is one way I feel loved because it shows that I am known and someone cares for and treasures me, too.
My oldest daughter, Linnea, shares this love language as well. She is constantly giving gifts to me, her father, her sister, and nearly anyone else within reach. She loves to give! And she often gives good gifts: a baby toy for a friend with a new baby, a toy cell phone for her little sister who loves talk and pretend, and a sweet song for her daddy who loves anything musical.
This Christmas Linnea gave me a beautiful silver bracelet with three shiny silver charms; one says “joy,” which is Linnea’s middle name, another says “hope,” which is Laurel’s middle name, and the third one says, “Mom.” She picked out the charms all by herself, and according to my husband, the store clerk nearly broke down and bawled when Linnea told her the significance of the charms she selected. What a sweetie!
Also, in her Friday art class, Linnea made me the cutest, most colorful little “pinch pot” with a lid.
What a treasure! I store my bracelet and earrings in it every night.
Did you know that giving good gifts is related to the Golden Rule? In fact, Matthew 7:9-12 says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Ultimately, the greatest Gift-Giver is God. As James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift if from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
So in light of that verse, this is my thank-you note to God for some of the good, perfect and memorable gifts He has graciously given me and for which I am ever so thankful.
Thank You, Father, for these gifts You knew I’d love. Thank You for…
1. a smile that reveals what she didn’t for Christmas – teeth
2. Christmas doodling by a 4-year-old who just rediscovered markers
3. hot tea in a tiny teacup prepared just for me by a very lady-like 7-year-old
4. groggy hugs just after naptime from a cuddly 4-year-old
5. cozy storytimes together with a favorite book and two favorite bears
6. warm, delicious home-cooked meals and uplifting conversations shared with very dear friends in Minnesota and in Iowa
7. gleeful cries near the Advent Calendar day after day
8. the feel and fragrance of a carefully selected Balsam Fir
9. delicate little fingers plinking out “Away in a Manager” on the piano
1o. little secrets that slip innocently from the lips of a 4-year-old overjoyed about buying a gift for her daddy
11. little secrets that are broadcast loudly, yet innocently, from the observant lips of a 4-year-old who likes when packages arrive at the door
12. carefully crafted gifts from the creative hands of a 7-year-old
13. a deeply heartfelt “Oh, thank you, Mommy!” from a 4-year-old receiving her own copy of a treasured book
14. the sweet little exchange of gifts between to very loving sisters on Christmas Eve
15. the giddy, child-like excitement in a grown man receiving the latest accessory for his guitar
16. the giddy, child-like excitement of a grown man heading off to pull an ice house onto a frozen lake
17. the sweet creamy taste of homemade chocolate fudge
18. the glow of Christmas lights crusted over with snow
19. finding and catching up with very dear old friends who live far, far away
20. and snow falling on snow falling on snow falling on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and many days thereafter
I think I hear God saying, “I knew she’d love it!”