My oldest grandchild hit double figures on a recent birthday –- the big 1-0.
A birthday party that included about a dozen schoolmates had begun at a local bowling establishment and had moved back to the house for the opening of gifts and a sleepover. Everyone was –- shall we say –- revved and excited.
My wife had already briefed Chase on a gift box she had prepared for him from us, his paternal grandparents. “I hope you won’t act too disappointed when you open the present from us,” she cautioned him. “Grandma, you aren’t trying to trick me, are you?” he responded with a coy smile.
The guests gathered around as the gifts were opened. The package to which my wife had alluded included some new clothing and a toiletry bag with a couple of items and a touching letter from Grandma inside. She had given Chase’s dad -– our son -– a similar one when he turned 10 some 25 years earlier.
The final gift was an unopened box of tissue. Chase pulled it out of the larger box and started to set it aside. Grandma suggested he might want to open the box, take a tissue and wipe away a smudge she saw on his face.
Dutifully, our grandson did as Grandma requested and tugged out a tissue. Taped to the tissue was a $1 bill, which was taped to another bill, then another, then another, then another, etc.
This was an old gag but none of the children had ever seen it before. As he kept pulling out the chain of single bills, Chase became ecstatic, and his quests and younger siblings began to cheer and applaud excitedly. Grandma’s painstaking effort to tape together those bills was certainly rewarded. Spontaneously, Chase ran from his seat to his grandmother and hugged her tightly.
The tissue box did not contain a lot of money, but no gift was acknowledged more excitedly than this one that Grandma had meticulously prepared, even though some presents were purchased at greater expense.
We could say the same thing about the Christ of Christmas. Born to resemble every other infant, God had invested extra effort and purpose into the Messiah. With angel-inspired fanfare, the Christ Child was born.
Sadly, not everyone noticed or understood the value of the world’s greatest gift immediately. In fact, some never did and many still haven’t.
But receiving the gift of Christ into their lives has changed those who have responded over the past 2,000 years. Not unlike the tissue box that was a gift that kept giving, God’s love, Jesus and the Spirit of God never run out. They are everlasting gifts.
The Gift becomes more valuable and more exciting with each day. Thanks be to God.