Christmas has always been an exciting time to share gifts and love with family and people you know. As a child, I never knew we were poor; each Christmas, the living room was always bursting with gifts everywhere. Notwithstanding, it was 12 of us plus parents!
My mother, Rita Sara Robinson Smith, was the epitome of gift giving! She was always very particular about getting just the right gift for each recipient – no lame gifts – they had to have substance…meaning…be needful and useful. I loved to shop with her because she was always so excited about buying the gifts. She also gave from her heart and her kitchen – sewing clothes, making special dishes, desserts or someone’s favorite meal. There was this special electricity that I would get from her that I could not explain.
My mother passed on August 26, 1993. Though I felt prepared for her going on to glory, I didn’t anticipate the hole that would reside in the center of my belly. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try…it was a deep, circular, aching emptiness that would not subside. I once tried to relieve it with Sprite and Skittles.
The emptiness that I felt strangled my joy whenever I had to be reminded of her lively spirit! This emptiness was most excruciating during the Christmas Season. I almost hated to decorate, celebrate, and “get in the Christmas spirit.” Whatever that meant…I became numb and exercised the “traditional” activities of the season year after year.[Let me pause to say: this season of emptiness had nothing to do with salvation or my love and reverence for God. It was part of the process…the process most people will experience after a loss – not necessarily identical, but somewhat comparable.]
During the Christmas Season of 2007, God sealed the pinhole left in my stomach! It wasn’t until I shopped with my own daughter (Christina) that I began to feel the “spirit of Christmas” fill the void that had so long stiffled my joy. You see, I was shopping for my great-nephews and nieces…the gift of giving revitalized the lively spirit that I saw in my mother. I can now explain the electricity that I felt from her – it was the Perfect Gift of God flowing through her to give to others. It was not until I relinquished the emptiness and focused on pouring into others by giving that I found the peace, joy and happiness of the Christmas Spirit! This finding was part of the process and is only available through the Perfect Gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.[Let me take another pause…I’ve always been a giver – we were trained at an early age to give to one another and others throughout the year. I did it, but didn’t experience it.]
I thank God for allowing my father to be with us until October 14, 2015. In 2009, Christmas time was very special, since he was recently hospitalized (for the first time in his 87 years) and had surgery. We gathered around him in his room to sing Christmas carols. He saw his wife in all of us – his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her spirit lives through us as we live the Godly life that she exampled during her lifetime. That brought him great joy, peace and satisfaction. To my family, I would admonish: love and honor one another, continue to live holy, serve God and make Him number one in your lives. It is through God’s people that the world can see and experience the “spirit” of Christmas. Let your light shine, fighting off any imp that would attempt to dim it.
The “Perfect Gift” is love. “For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only begotten son!” (Jn 3:16a) The only price tag on God’s gift was the death of His Son on the cross. In turn, Jesus also gave the ultimate “Perfect Gift,” his life! He died that we might be FREE from sin and death, and live eternally. Astonishing, what a “Perfect Gift” – Love!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas 1:17)
Give from your heart – Have a blessed Christmas and may you experience a rejuvenated New Year!