Last Thursday we crossed the finish line of a marathon week. Extra band practices. A parade. Work. Weary. Laura on her way home by bus. And a band concert. I was thankful that my parents agreed to get Laura, especially when we found out the bus was late. When I finally put my feet up after the concert, I took a breath, thankful for the weekend, and only four more work days until Christmas vacation. And then I noticed a beautiful box under the undecorated Christmas tree. Cam reported that it had just been outside when he got home... and that it was twelve days of Christmas, for us.
The past few years I have been quietly delivering advent gifts to friends. The very first year I was so touched by the reaction of my friend... she said it carried her through the season. The next year I tied up little packages for Ann, because... well, I think I knew. And last year, I tried to surprise Suz, but she knew the gifts were from me almost before they were dropped off. Though I've been stashing little gifts all year for this December, God laid something different on my heart. As a family, we chose two other families to surprise... one who especially needs the love and care this year. It has been a joy to do this together, so much fun to see the excitement on my own kids faces as they leap back in the car so we can make a quick get-a-way!
Once I opened the beautiful box under the tree, I had to correct Cam. It was for me. And isn't it just like my sweet friend to out-do me at my own game!!! Everything is tied up in beautiful ribbon, and her cards make me laugh out loud... just as if we were sitting across the table from each other. Today I even spotted a bonus in the bottom of the box... and that she labeled it such? More laughter...
I know Christmas is not really about the presents... but when they are given in love, sweetly and unselfishly, the presence of God draws near. It wraps around our hearts, stirs our spirit, and prompts us to keep on giving.
Today when we dropped off one of our secret gifts, to this family that is aching like I cannot fathom, there was a gift waiting for us. The card simply said you have touched our hearts. I am thanking God for the gentle nudge to follow through... to share just a little bit of Him in this season of Love.