With all the Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday hype, last Saturday on my 67th birthday, I discovered all over again the joy of a handmade gift. Douglas’ daughter had her three children make “Nana Gina” birthday cards while I was at my daughter’s house. When I returned to their home to spend the last night of our three-day visit, I was pleasantly surprised by their thoughtfulness. The one above is from the four-year-old, and the ones below are from the 8-year-old and the ten-year-old.
It was also the hugs, kisses, and joy on the faces of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren when they saw me that really made the day so special. No expensive gift could ever be more beautiful or soul-stirring. I met my youngest great-grandchild, Knola Kai, and holding her and her cousin, Kohlani, both under a year old, was a double delight. I thanked God for those two beautiful gifts that brought such joy to my heart.
In contrast to other years, Douglas made my gift this year, creating four beautiful coasters from family moments. I especially love the one of my deceased son and his young daughter at his last Christmas. I knew that Douglas was working on a project in his office, but I was unaware that they were my birthday gifts.
I must be real here. I was looking forward to a store-bought gift from my husband, and I could not wait to see what he got me. I was thinking maybe a new laptop computer, complete with all the information on how to use it to create wonderful new blogs. As I opened the coasters, I thought, “How cute, but where is the “real” gift?”
But, when I realized that the coasters were all that I was receiving from him, I thought about how much work my husband had expended on making the coasters and the loving thoughts that went into choosing which pictures would bring me the most joy. I smiled big, and I told him, in all honesty, just how much the gifts meant to me.
I know what it is like to not have a gift appreciated. One Christmas, Douglas built a game for my youngest grandchildren. We took the gift over on Christmas Day and Douglas set it up for everyone to play. The grandchildren had a ball playing the game with Douglas and their mother and father, and, yes, even I took a turn.
Afterwards, my little grandson came to me and asked what we had brought them for Chirstmas. I told him that the game was our gift to him and his siblings, and he was so disappointed. He was looking for a gift from the stores. He walked away and never said thank you to either one of us. I spoke to my son, and I told him that you have to teach children to say thank you for gifts, whether they like them or not.
But, I think that we have lost the art of making gifts, and that children and adults have come to think that if you don’t buy an expensive gift from the stores, then it is not a gift at all. That makes me sad. Handmade gifts come straight from the heart, and the hard work that goes into making them is guided by true love and appeciation, much more than just getting someone the latest gadget or toy.
It is a time for Christmas hymns, such as Joy to the World, Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethelehem, and my favorite, Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child. These songs speak of the birth of the greatest gift ever received: a Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord. This gift came straight from the heart of God, and the gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit that Christ Jesus still offers are still free today. I am so thankful.
I appreciate the handmade and store-bought gifts that I received for my birthday. I am thankful for each person who thought of me on my birthday, including Facebook friends and Linked-in friends who sent digital birthday greetings. It was a truly grand weekend, and I thank God for the gift of still being among the living.