by Colonel Janice Howard, Territorial Secretary for Leader Development

The list of names and budget had been charted for months. There were a few specific gifts in the next column, but most of that column was empty. What gifts could be purchased? One person didn’t have any special interests, another hadn’t used any of the gifts I’d given over the last few years. Who would now what to buy?

Then it occurred to me to go a different direction. Using the list, I began to create personalized gift cards. Person A would get a tea and conversation at a local coffee/bakery shop; person B would receive free babysitting for six hours. I’d help person C with painting their dining room, and I’d cook dinner at my house for person D. Surely Person E would be happy to receive assistance with next year’s Trunk or Treat outreach.

Yes, that’s it. Gifts from my heart to strengthen relationships would be on this year’s Christmas list. It reminds me of one of my favorite songs, “The best gift” written by Lan O’Kun and recorded by Barbara Streisand:

The best gift
That I ever got
Didn’t really weigh a lot
It didn’t have a ribbon ‘round
And it sometimes made the terrible sound
The best of all it seems to me It wasn’t ‘neath the Christmas tree
And yet, I guess I’d have to say
That it made all the other presents twice as gay
The best gift that I’ve ever known
I’d always wanted most to own
Yet in my dreams of sugar and spice
I never thought it could be so nice
The best gift that I ever get
Was sometimes dry and sometimes wet
Was usually pink but oftentimes red
As it lay so innocently in its bed
The best gift of the year to me
The one I hold most dear to me
A gift that simply drove me wild
Was a tiny new born child…

Yes, the best gift ever given to me, you and humankind was a tiny newborn child named Jesus. Jesus, divine and human, is a gift from the heart of God that provides salvation for each person in the world who receives Him. “God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b, ICB)




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