Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
By Sharon Karroll
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As the snowflakes danced in front of her, gift memories began to dance their way onto the stage of her mind. There was that Christmas when a box from Korea had arrived just in time. Daddy had sent a pair of silky Korean style pajamas just her size. She outgrew the pajamas but not the memory of how special she had felt wearing them. Just having them on had somehow made it seem that Daddy wasn't so far away.
Another year she had announced for weeks that she would try really hard to be good, because she wanted a bride doll. Beside the tree was a beautiful bride doll almost her height. She smiled as she remembered the doll a lonesome thing by itself in the corner. She had robbed the veil, worn it herself to dinner, and nearly driven her family to distraction with the incessant humming of her special version of the wedding march.
She blinked back tears as the next memory began to unfold. They were a long way from home, and she missed her grandma. And, to top it off, there was no wrapping paper. The single gift had just been set out in plain view. She couldn't even remember what it had been, just that she hadn't been able to unwrap it. The best gift that year had come in the form of an unexpected snowstorm. Usually stern and always military daddy had said, "Let's go out and play in the snow." And, somewhere between snowballs and frozen toes, she had unwrapped in her heart the amazing gifts of laughter and belonging to a family.
Another wedding veil memory brought to mind their first Christmas and her first time to "do" the holiday. She had wanted everything to be perfect and had worked all day on the decorations. Hearing his car in the driveway had made her really nervous. What if he didn't forgive going way over the decorating budget and what if he didn't like them? The memory of what happened next still made her heart melt after all this time. He had come in with his eyes shining saying that every thing was so pretty. She had told him she had spent way too much. He had just wrapped his loving arms around her and said it was okay because, after all, it was our first Christmas. He had given perfect gifts of forgiveness and oneness.
Memory doors began to open in haphazard fashion. Scenes of staying up late to finish nativity costumes and Christmas dresses came rushing in. Too bad she couldn't forget the year she had gone particularly insane and had stood in line for four hours for Cabbage Patch dolls only to be told they were sold out. The year the first grandbaby came, they had gone really nuts. The stack of presents had to be opened in two sittings. He had become howling hungry, so they had to take a break before "he" could open any more. As memories of Christmases with children and grandchildren paraded by, she wondered where the years had gone.
All the remembering had brought her to the renewed joy of remembering the why for any of it, the greatest gift of all, Jesus. The pajamas were a perfect fit. Jesus was the perfect fit for her heart when she invited Him in. The pajamas made her feel closer to daddy. But, because Jesus came, she is now invited to say;"Abba" which means Daddy is always near. She didn't get to unwrap gifts that year, but because Jesus chose to give up everything and be "wrapped in swaddling cloths",she can unwrap the gifts of His love and forgiveness every day. She had to be good for a bride doll, but she didn't even have to try to be good enough for the salvation that Jesus brings. It is a grace gift from God. She had talked about her year to "do" the holiday. She could do the decorating and celebrating, but Jesus did it all by coming. She bowed her heart in gratefulness for past memories and ones yet to be and most of all for the gift of Jesus.
Abba, NKJV Romans 8:15
wrapped --- in swaddling cloths, NKJV Luke 2:7
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