"A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great." Proverbs 18:16 (NIV)
Many years ago, my father gave me a Christmas Cactus for the holidays. I loved that plant for many different reasons. I loved it because I love ANYTHING that has the word Christmas in it! I loved it because it was a beautiful pink when it bloomed. Yet, I loved it the most because it was a gift - a gift from my dad. My dad has since passed (over 15 years ago), but the plant lives on.
The plant "regifts" itself every year as that it doesn't wait until Christmas to bloom. The plant blooms just when it wants to - just when I need it. When life starts getting a little difficult and I wonder if I have enough hours in the day to get things done, the plant blooms and reminds me the beauty of a gift. It usually is around the October to December time frame, when life gets busy. It tends to bloom another time during the year as well - and that is a VERY special gift, because I certainly don't expect it to bloom - in the spring or summer. That surprise gift always brings a smile to my face, warms my heart, and helps me to refocus on what is important.
Isn't that the way it seems when we get a surprise gift? The gift is certainly nice, but it is the feeling that I get when I receive the gift. It does warm my heart. How about you? Do you feel extra happy when you get a surprise gift?
Let's move to the other side of the gift - and focus on the giving aspect. Getting a surprise gift is really nice, yet, I believe the true warmth comes in the giving of a surprise gift. The opportunity to give something special to someone when they least expect it. An actual item is nice, but maybe it is a kind word, a special note, a home-cooked meal or even a warm hug. Whatever the surprise gift, the giver tends to "be in the presence of great". Great heart, great warmth, great attitude, great hope, great faith. All those things happen when we are the giver.
Going back to Jesus' time, think about the surprise gift He gave each and every time he spoke, each time He healed, each time He displayed His love, even up to the surprise when He died for our sins and lived again in three days. Most importantly, though, is the gift Jesus will give us when He comes back to take us home. That gift can be on the day we join Him in heaven as we pass from this earthly place, or it can be the gift we receive when He comes back to get us on that miraculous day. There is a surprise gift I can't wait for!!
As we ponder on surprise gifts, take some time to think about a surprise gift you, as the giver, can present to someone else. Again, it doesn't have to cost your next paycheck, it just needs to be from your heart. I am certain that when you give, you will be in the presence of great - and that's a great feeling that everyone can enjoy.
"Dearest Jesus, You provided us the perfect example of how to give a surprise gift as you walked this earth. As well, we know that the day you return will be a surprise as well - a surprise gift of greatness. Until then, help us to provide others with a surprise gift - a gift of words, of deeds, or of actions. Guide us to experience the greatness that comes with giving. In your name we pray, Amen."