Christmas is just around the corner. Soon we will be gathered around the tree, celebrating with our families and giving gifts wrapped in shiny paper and ribbon. Of course, gifts can come in many different packages or no package at all. When we exchange presents with one another is the true gift within the box? Or is it the love with which we give?
Here’s a little story from the editor of the Woman’s Institute Magazine, Laura Mac Farlane:
Last year, the day before Christmas, a goodly-sized box arrived from the South. My friend had accepted a position there for the winter, and though a thousand miles away, had not forgotten us. I couldn’t resist opening the box, and my eagerness was rewarded, for there, packed between paddings of Southern moss, was layer after layer of greens, and right on top, under the first padding, the largest poinsettia I’d ever seen.
That simple gift was almost like the widow’s cruse of oil, for I had greens enough to dress up all my packages that had not yet gone and to decorate all our rooms for Holiday week. And the poinsettia, carefully watered and trimmed, was still a suitable table centerpiece for a New Year’s eve party. But best of all, I had realized that the sender had remembered my fancy for hanging up Christmas greens and that her gift was somehow meant to bring back to mind the fun we’d had one year in doing it together. And so it was the thought behind the gift that made it more precious to me than the costliest one I received.
So our Christmas gifts don’t need to be costly nor in any way beyond our efforts or resources. Just the simple little gift that shows we understand and appreciate not only the needs but the desires and hobbies of our friends, will bring a warm, steady glow to the heart such as the most expensive one never could. It’s when we learn that others are thinking of us, as if they cherished us, that we’re happiest. No success we may ever achieve can thrill us like the knowledge that our friends love and respect us. And in no way during the whole year can we so well express our affection to our loved ones as through our gift-giving at Christmas time.
Laura Mac Farlane