Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Perfect Gift

I spent some time yesterday afternoon searching for a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. Over the years, doing so has become much easier, but it brought back memories of the early days of my marriage. Oh, the torment I put myself through those first few years every time an inlaw birthday rolled around! All of the sudden, I found myself irrevocably connected to perfect strangers. And for me, the way to bridge that gap was through giving the perfect gift.

Gift-giving has always been that for me – a way to bridge gaps and span chasms - especially in my college days, when bits of time with loved ones was interspersed with long periods of homesickness. I consoled myself on holidays away from home by preparing care packages to send home.

Several years ago I finally realized there was no such thing as the perfect gift. Gifts would always be flawed. Either the gift itself would be flawed, of inferior quality or some hidden defect, or the giving would be flawed. It might be a duplicate, or not fit or match right or perhaps it was one of those gifts that would end up on the Goodwill pile someday. What a relief it was when I came to understand I didn’t have to give the perfect gift.

In contrast, how beautiful is the gift God has given us in his Son Jesus Christ! A truly perfect gift – no faults or hidden defects. And the giving was perfect as well – in the fullness of time, all sufficient and yet more than we could ever ask or think. It bridged the greatest chasm of all times, bringing us into eternal relationship with God. Not a once in a lifetime thing we put on the shelf after the newness wears off, but a gift that invites us to partake daily in the life God has given us.

8 comments:

Dionna said...

I always stress over giving just the right thing as well. :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

What interesting thoughts about gifts. It is nice to think of and purchase and give a "perfect" gift, but yes, there are always flaws. Never thought of that.

gail@more than a song said...

HE is the perfect gift!

I love to give gifts, but you might be right that one are perfect...although I do still try to find the "perfect" ones!

Joan B. said...

Such great thoughts. And even when we give it our all, we can't always know the true heart of the recipient - flaws there sometimes, too, that cloud our "perfect" gift. Good to be reminded that God's perfect gift was given just for that reason!

Katrina said...

As a gift-giver myself, I appreciate these thoughts. I love to give gifts, and love to find one that's "just right," but I also am so thankful for the only perfect give -- the one given to all of us.

Dianne said...

thanks for the comments. and i should have added . . . sometimes the motives are flawed! yikes!

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

I'm not good at picking out gifts. some friends, I know what to get. Mostly, I am bad at it. so I have no worries about finding the "perfect" gift--I consider it a red letter day if I select any gift at all. :)
You're a better woman than I, picking out gifts for your mother-in-law. I do all of our christmas shopping, except I make my husband shop for his parents. I mean, they are HIS parents. Same with birthdays. I've sometimes gotten a card and had the kids sign it to grandma, but I don't know that I've ever shopped for a gift for my mother in law. I told you I'm bad at gift-picking-out, but also, I figure--she's my husband's mother, let him remember her birthday, send the card, etc. I love my in-laws, I enjoy spending time with them. I'm just not the one who shops for their gifts.
I know, you all think I'm mean, but my husband does not send my parents birthday cards or pick out gifts for them at birthdays or Christmas. do any of yours?

Dianne said...

My husband shops for his dad. For his mom, he has no clue so I guess I take pity on him. He did take her flowers, and has from time to time, which I think is sweet. And Mike is quick to think of gifts for my dad, so I guess it evens out.