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Small Gifts Matter  

Small gifts matter.

Check out this email from my friend, Jack:

 

Peppermint bark in a metal tin. That—and a Christmas card—were in one hand as I knocked on the door with the other. It was just a small gift. With the house cloaked in afternoon shadows, the window's reflection made it difficult to see if Mark was home. Mark lives a few doors down from us, but he’s been existing in a world far from ours: grief.

When at last I saw someone behind the door glass, it was not the face of Mark, the home repair guy we know. This was a girl with braces on her teeth and sadness in her eyes—Mark’s daughter.

This Christmas would be her first without her mom.  She opened the door tentatively, and I explained that I was a neighbor a few doors down. As I handed her the peppermint bark, she brightened, and a smile crinkled her eyes.

The next part was hard. How do you express sympathy to a first-year high school student? 

“We’re…umm…very sorry about your mom.”  She nodded, still smiling as she looked at the candy. “So—please say hi to your dad for me, okay?” I added. She smiled even wider.

 


 

Hearing Jack's story reminds me that many of us have long taken a cautionary stance on Christmas gifts as evangelicals. "It's not about the gifts we give, but about the gift He gave,” we proclaim. We absolutely don’t want Christmas to be about the presents we buy. No argument, right?

It's certainly true we could never give a gift like God gave us in Jesus. But at the same time, I'm convinced our gift-giving matters—small gifts matter.

Consider how surprisingly few ways there are to express love to someone. You can tell them, write them, hug them, visit them—or give them a gift.

One last thought on Jack's gift. For years, he's prayed for an open door with his neighbor, Mark. Sounds to me like that door is open, at least a little.

Small gifts matter.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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