Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Unexpected Christmas Gift

Today’s Reading: John 18:40-19:1 (NIV)

40 “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion. 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

Good morning!

I received an unexpected Christmas present yesterday. Meredith’s parents found a wrapped Christmas package in her closet with my name on it. My friend passed away last July. The gift was delivered to my daughter’s home, and last night, as I sat scrapbooking with my family and friends, I began to unwrap the package.

The paper had been torn in a couple of places where her kitty cats had been playing underneath the tree last year. The design on the red and gold wrapping was that of Christmas teddies dancing around a beautifully lit tree. A tag on the package was addressed to me from Meredith. How do you thank someone for a gift they have given you when they are no longer physically here?

I carefully cut the paper with scissors, hoping to preserve the wrapping for a background in my scrapbook. Meredith loved to scrapbook as much as I do, and she had volumes of pictures carefully mounted in her books, pictures of home and kitty cats, Minx and Patches. She took pictures of her two precious nieces as they grew from tiny babies into beautiful young adults. She chronicled all her trips, work related and fun vacations. One of the last trips she made for fun was a trip to London. When she returned, Meredith told me that this was a trip I must make someday. I hope to see the sights just as she captured them on paper and film. Inside my package, she gave me a carrying case designed to hold scrapbooking décor: brads, buttons, flowers and beads. It is something she knew I would and could use with all my scrapbooking tools. What caught me by surprise was the inscription on the face of the plastic case. It says, “Close to my heart.” She couldn’t have known what that simple phrase would mean to me on a day like today, several months after her passing. Her gift of friendship and love is something I will cherish the rest of my life.

The unexpected gift was slowly and meticulously being opened by the Roman soldiers as they shredded the flesh of our Savior. A common criminal was let loose into the streets and the sinless Son of God was filleted in the courtyard for all to see. As He spilled His blood, new life was poured out for all. It is a gift that none of us had wanted to receive in this manner; but it was the One gift we would cherish every day of this life and in the life to come.

The unexpected Christmas gift is yours. Jesus died because you are closer to His heart than anything else in the world. He cares more about saving you than saving Himself. He died to give you a brand new life in Him. I know that one day I will greet Meredith with a holy hug and thank her for her gift to me, as we stand together in the heavenly realm, praising the One who gave us new life in Him. She is home, and I am headed that way. One day, we will share the unexpected Christmas gift together in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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