Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Is In a Gift?

What is in a gift? I have thought about that a lot as I have carried out one of our very enjoyable jobs of purchasing birthday gifts for sponsored children on behalf of their sponsors. I agonized over the pink purse or the rust-colored one (earth tones are very big here), which scrunchies to go with them, what to get for a 14 year-old boy, and all the same thoughts one has when buying for a nephew or a birthday party for one of your kid’s friends.
I thought a lot about my mom through this process. My mom was an orphan who had the blessing to be born in the US, where we have a fairly adequate system for dealing with such delicate matters. She received her first birthday present when she was 16, from the daughter of her foster mother. I remember Mom talking about it like it was the most incredible thing at the time—I think it was a necklace. Someone thought about her, and it made a difference. She always talked about it—and it came up quite a few times—with tears in her eyes, and much love for the sweet young woman who had bought it for her.
And I have been thinking that although most of these kids are not orphans, the majority of them do not live in easy situations. If I was their mother, I would be thinking about how to get enough money to feed them, not if there was sufficient funds to take them out to a movie to celebrate with their friends or buy them something pretty that makes them feel thought about. These gifts may be the only ones they get to celebrate that they were born. How incredible, too, that it comes from someone they don’t even know, who does it in the name of Jesus. I think you can say a lot with a gift. You can say, “You matter to someone.” You can say, “Don’t give up.” You can say, “Jesus loves you, and I do, too.”
Buying gifts for these kids--it’s a good job.

1 comment:

my two hopeful wings said...

A friend and I were just talking about giving gifts this afternoon. It's good to hear your perspective and your mom's too. Also I must tell you that we were doing a Bible study tonight at church about the life of Paul and the question was "Do you know someone who has followed in the footsteps of the first missionaries?" You all came to my mind. Blessings and enjoyment to you in the gift giving! with love...