Gifts from the Heart

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Although “store bought” items might look nicer or work better–and require less of my time–I still enjoy giving things I’ve made. Before I actually begin, I think about the persons to whom I’d like to give “just a little something,” and then I try to make something that relates to who they are or what they enjoy.

This week, for example, I painted two wooden soccer balls–one for Ryan and one for Bailey–which they can hang on their bedroom doors or place on their desks as a reminder of the fun they had playing soccer this year.
I plan to go ahead and mail these inexpensive gifts (in separate envelopes), for the grandsons (ages 8 and 4) get very excited when they receive mail addressed to them, even if the contents have little monetary value.
Even though they will be more impressed with and thrilled by the “store bought” gifts my husband and I will give to them at Christmastime, I just couldn’t resist making something special for Ryan and Bailey. (I’m secretly hoping they’ll treasure the little “heart gifts” for many years.)

Perhaps I like “heart gifts” so much because that’s the kind of gifts we gave and received when I was a child. Back then, my family and friends had very little money. If we wanted to have gifts to give, we had to get really creative. And since hearts that love are hearts that give, we eagerly made simple gifts, using whatever skills we had and whatever resources were available.
I now have money to buy gifts; yet, I still enjoy making little ones to give along with those with a higher “WOW!” rating. To me, a handmade, handcrafted gift seems so much more “from the heart,” so much more personal, so much more unique than one from a store.
So, along about this time every year, I’m constantly on the lookout for things to make. And whenever I’m busy with my creative “labors of love,” hours seem like minutes; and I rarely feel tired, even after I’ve been “at it” for a long time.
The simple gifts I make are very much a part of me. They are expressive of not only the recipients but also of me, the giver. They reflect who I am, what I like to do, what I am able to do, the resources available to me, the message I want to convey…
But even �store bought� gifts reveal information about the giver. Is he or she practical or romantic? Frugal or extravagant? Ho-hum or creative?
Yes, the gift is closely linked to the giver. In fact, Ralph Waldo Emerson went so far as to say, �The only gift is a portion of thyself.�
That’s true in spiritual matters, too. Aware of mankind’s desperate need of a Savior, God gave His Son (His Only Son, His Beloved Son) as an eternal sacrifice for sin so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish, as he or she deserves, but will, instead, be graciously and freely given life–in all its fullness–for all eternity. (See John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8.)
The loving heart of God motivated Him to send us �a gift too wonderful for words� (2 Corinthians 9:15). And whenever we look at Jesus, we see the Father, for the Gift so clearly and accurately reflects the Giver.
� 2005 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, www.jgaskill.com. Scriptures quoted are from the New Living Translation.

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