The presents were lined in front of the birthday girl — bags and boxes filled with games, books and new pajamas.
On one child’s face: delight.
On the other face: envy.
“Mommy,” Anna asked, lower lip quivering, “Did I get that many gifts at my birthday? I think Lydia got more than me. You love her the most.”
I scooped her onto my lap, to catch tears and hurts and replace them with assurances of love. “Oh honey, we love you the most, and we love Lydia the most. We love you both the most.”
We try to spend the same amount on both children. We really do. But right then, that didn’t matter, for the wrapped evidence stacked on the carpet suggested otherwise. There were more presents in front of her sister.
To a child unable to calculate the worth of a gift, it’s not the cost that matters. It’s all about the number of presents she can tear into.
I assured Anna that despite the way it looked, we loved her just as much as her sister: The Most. I reminded her that no matter how many gifts she gets, the most important thing to remember is that our love motivates our giving.
The lesson seemed so simple — until I had to relearn it for myself when my husband held a jagged loaf of bread before me.
“The body of Christ, given for you, Jennifer,” he said.
I tore a chunk from the loaf and dipped this priceless gift in a cup, wrapping it in red.
“The blood of Christ, shed for you,” he whispered.
And my heart of stone melted with this Gift between fingertips.
With one hand on my groom
And the other dipping into blood of the Bridegroom
I rediscovered the worth of the gift:
who lay down His life
because He loved us all
I’m going to Get Down to Truth with you: I’ve been the jealous little kid at the birthday party. That’s the lesson I learned while working at a spiritual retreat this weekend with my husband.
I’ve sorely miscalculated the worth of my gifts because I’ve gotten so caught up comparing my gifts with others’ — in a covetous way.
These last few days, I’ve had to ask myself some tough questions:
Do I realize the cost of the gifts I’ve been given freely — bought at a price on the Cross?
Do I seek the gifts, or the Giver?
With fingertips touching a red-dipped Gift this weekend, I felt a fresh sting of tears. I crawled up on the lap of the Giver and found there an assurance of His love as He whispered in my Spirit:
“Jennifer, I love you the most, too.”