THE GIFT FORGETTER
By John Hunt
My wife and I sat at dinner the other evening, in the peaceful calm of a winter night while music softly played. And as snowflakes floated outside our door and the hearth glowed an auburn hue, I was blissfully unaware of the disaster about to ensue.
I had stuffed my mouth with as much potatoes as humanly possible, when my wife suddenly blurts out, “How come you never wear that shirt I got you for Christmas?” (Her timing is impeccable – a talent, or gift, if you will. I suspect she was an aspiring waitress in her formative years).
Now, I’ve often been a bit daft in my lifetime. I’ve made mistakes, blunders, and just plain bad decisions on occasion. But thirteen years of marriage has taught me a few things, most notably, to remain silent: anything I say can and will be used against me…and against me, and against me. Of course, some lessons must continually be relearned.
“Mwhat shirpt?” I replied while grazing on the spuds.
I immediately winced at my gaffe. The comment, of course, drew a look from my wife that could instantaneously put a deep freeze on the surface of the sun. Needless to say, the conversation that ensued is not suitable for young viewers, let alone a Christian website.
On the learning curve of life, one could say I learned a valuable lesson that night, aside from keeping my mouth shut, while eating or otherwise. I discovered no matter how much of an “Okay Joe” I think I am, and no matter how thoughtful, benevolent, or magnanimous I fantasize myself to be, I – the stereotypical male – am a gift forgetter.
For those of you not familiar with the term, a gift forgetter is any individual who forgets nearly any gift given to him on any given occasion, in my case usually the same day I receive it. Not that the gift forgetter is without excuse, mind you. After all, with all the occasions in which we give and receive gifts, it's nearly impossible to remember one specific, isolated gift from one obscure holiday.
Well, okay, Christmas is neither isolated, nor obscure. But consider this: within a calendar year, there are four mandated holidays in which gift-exchanging occurs, five if you consider the bogus “Sweetest Day.” Add birthdays and anniversaries, and you exchange more than ten presents between just you and you spouse. Factor in parents and in-laws, and you're now now up to at least twenty-four gifts. Now, if you include gifts for children, siblings, and nieces and nephews, the mayhem has escalated to several hundred. So, among the many gifts, and the many givers, is it so unusual to forget this one present?
Be that as it may, there are some things worse than being a gift forgetter. For instance, there’s the gift rememberer. My wife would fall into this category (while we are on the subject, there is nothing wrong with battery operated hunting socks). Then there’s the gift repeater. This person somehow manages to give the same gift to the same person year after year (if this is an elderly aunt or grandparent, it is a forgivable faux pas). And finally, there’s the gift recycler. This unscrupulous individual re-gives a gift that was likely re-given to him or her. Ergo, the gift eventually returns to its source like salmon returning to spawn.
Now, I mention all of this because we are all at risk of being gift forgetters this holiday season. No, I’m not talking about the shirt still hanging in the bedroom closet (the one from three Christmas’s ago with its store tag still attached), the Ronco® Bass-a-matic somewhere in the dark recesses of the basement, or the Chia Pet® in the bottom of a drawer growing some sort of mold. Rather, I am referring to the most precious gift of all, the gift given to us in that little town of Bethlehem some two thousand years ago. That is a gift that has not been recycled and has never been repeated, a gift that should always be remembered and never forgotten, and most of all, a gift we may all freely share.
In the midst of this hectic holiday season, may the cherished remembrance of God’s precious gift fill your hearts each and every day. That way, in the most important sense of the term, we can all be gift rememberers.
© 2004 by John Hunt
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