Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. — James 1:16-18 —

It was at my brother’s Boy Scout Christmas party that I first learned the value of a gift was not to be measured in size. We children were all seated, waiting for Santa Clause to call our names so we could go up and receive the presents our parents bought for us. I waited eagerly for my name to be called as I saw the other kids go up and walk away with big shiny packages.

My younger cousin received a doctor’s kit. I don’t know who was more excited — my cousin or me. I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up and I was hoping I too would get a doctor’s kit.

Finally my name was called.

It’s funny how some things are so entrenched in our memories. We can forget something that happened yesterday, but yet remember something from decades ago. Usually it is something that has hurt us deeply and we can’t forget the pain, or something that had brought us much joy. In either case it is meant to teach us.

I remember this event like it was yesterday. I can still see myself bashfully going forward. (I was an extremely shy little kid — that has changed. *smile*) I approached Santa Clause and held out my hand. He hands me over a small tubular oblong package about four inches long one inch wide. At that very moment I became embarrassed and walked back to my seat both dissappointed and somewhat humilated. Thinking to myself the other kids were laughing at me for getting such a tiny gift. Whether they were or not, I don’t know. It just felt that way.

I get back to my seat and didn’t even want to open it for fear it would be something I would not like. I was afraid I would let my parents down if I my face gave away to dislike. But I did open it as my parents watched on. I unwrapped it and upon seeing what they got me, I became very excited. A little flashlight! And not just any flashlight, but a Girl Scout flashlight! It was a beauty. Silver and green and it even had a battery in it! Nothing up until then had thrilled me so. I no longer coveted my cousin’s doctor kit. I had a flashlight! I thanked my parents and saw what must have been joy on their faces.

I learned that very moment that the old saying “good things come in small packages,” can be so true. I never again judged a gift by how small it appeared. Looking back, I can see God was in it to teach me such a wonderful thing at a young age.

But that is not all. There is more.

Christmas was right around the corner. Santa would be coming and even though I did not believe in Santa anymore, I still could not wait for Christmas morning. The day arrives and I get up to see what is under the tree for me. A doctor’s kit! Oh can it get any better than this?! Yes! I see a package with my name on it. It was from my mother. I don’t remember what I thought, but probably something like, Gee, I hope she didnt get me any clothes. Or worse — a dress, being the tomboy that I was.

I open it. It was a dress. But… it was a nurse’s outfit! It had three pieces. A little white dress with a little blouse and a blue cape with red trim. And on the dress and cape were a red cross to signify nursing. It was the best Christmas present I had ever recieved and still to this day, probably is. You see, my mother made it. She sewed on it after we kids went to bed. I didn’t see her do it but I can only imagine how when she was sewing on it, her thoughts must have been towards me. Thoughts of love, tenderness. Even thoughts of my dreams of being a nurse.

Isn’t God the same way with us? He gives us gifts. Sometimes they are all around us and we can’t see them because we expect something greater. If we measure by the flesh what a gift should look like, we may never find the gifts God has for us.

God puts a lot of thought in each and every gift He gives us. Just like my mother (more so) His thoughts towards us are tender and loving. He sees and knows our hopes and dreams. But He, being the best gift giver ever, knows what is best for each of us. Truly He does. His timing is perfect, just as my parent’s were in giving me those precious gifts.

I took that little nurse’s outfit out the other day. It is so small. I held it up and let my husband see it and asked him what age child did he think wore it. He said about a four year old. Wrong, I told him. I was in the forth grade when my mother made it. I was a very little girl. The smallest one in my school for a few years. Having no children to pass it down to, I have given it to a niece. I can only hope it will mean as much to her as it has to me all these years.

So right now, I am speaking to my faceless and voiceless friends out there: though miles seperate us and chances are we will never meet one another on this earth, today, will you with me, look around and watch for the little gifts God has given you right in front of you?

What is the gift that you are may be over-looking? Is it a spouse who loves you unconditionally when all others have forsaken you? Perhaps it is a special friend who has allowed you in their life and accepted you? Maybe it is a job that helps pay the bills? Or could it be something so simple as good health that we all take for granted? Maybe it is children that God has blessed you with? Perhaps it is some little trinket that someone gave to you in hopes that you would treasure it as much as they do. Do you have an animal who means a lot to you? Family members that you get along with? What is it?

Whatever it is, we can count on the fact that it was God who gave it to us.