Laughter, words of delight and jealous banter fills the air. The soccer field is empty; as is the basketball court and tether ball circles. A group of third and fourth graders congregate on the playground to show and tell each other what they got for Christmas.
Seven year old Kyle opens his new backpack to reveal the newest portable video game system and three of the latest animated kid’s DVDs. Daniel, also seven, is sporting perfectly white new tennis shoes, a new coat and telling them about his new iPod.
Samuel describes his family journey to the Bahamas and how weird it was to see palm trees and to wear shorts on Christmas. Loren shows off her new bracelet and blue dress. Dave wears his favorite sports team’s sweatshirt while holding his brand new football.
All of the kids seem to be talking at the same time and it seems impossible for anyone to keep up or know who got what. Video games are briefly exchanged, stories are told and the kids are having a great time at recess.
Eight year old Evan is on the outside of the circle, trying to get a glimpse of the goodies the other kids got. His small stature aids in him being pushed aside and behind the crowd. He quietly leaves the group and sits on a nearby bench.
Evan has lived in an orphanage for the last year, after his parents became unable to care for him. He is quiet, but is the smartest one in his class. Many of the other kids shun Evan because he doesn’t have a normal home.
He sorrowfully looks at the group, and then pulls his brand new pocket Bible out of his coat pocket. He rubs his thumb over the green cover and then over his silver monogrammed name. A small smile appears on his lips as the bell rings to ends recess. The other kids run back in to the building. His teacher, Mrs. Libby, notices Evan still sitting. She walks over to him.
“So what did you get?” she asks.
Evan looks up at her and hands her the Bible.
She briefly looks at it and hands it back to him.
“Mr. Woodall at the orphanage says it’s a gift that lasts forever,” Evan says.
Mrs. Libby smiles and says, “That’s very true. But the book isn’t what lasts forever.”
Perplexed, Evan says, “So he lied?”
Mrs. Libby quickly chuckles.
“No, he didn’t lie. The gift is when it gets in here,” tapping on the left side of Evan’s chest, “that’s when it lasts forever.”
Evan looks at the Bible, Mrs. Libby, up to the sky and back down at his chest. Mrs. Libby continually smiles at him.
“This is all I got though,” Evan frowns, “what do I do if the other kids ask what I got?”
Mrs. Libby grabs the Bible from him and opens it.
“Tell them this verse,” she says,” 2 Corinthians 9:15 – Thanks be to God, for His unspeakable gift.”
“Do you know what that gift is?” she asks.
“Yes,” Evan smiles, “It’s Jesus.”
Mrs. Libby smiles, “That’s right. It’s Jesus.”
She extends her hand out to help him off the bench.
“C’mon, it’s time to start math.” Mrs. Libby says.
He reaches up, takes her hand and walks with her into the school. He has a smile bigger than any of the other kids did while showing off their gift.
“So my gift is better than all of theirs?” he asks.
“Yes,” she says, “much better. And it will never go out of style or stop working.”
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