Click, scroll, click. 

Our family exchanges lists for Christmas gift-giving. This eases the awkward moment of unwrapping a well meant gift, but one that doesn’t “fit” the person unwrapping it. With online shopping’s easy buy, easy wrap, no searching, and no angst, I click my family’s links and enter credit card information which I’ve memorized without trying. 

Four wheelers pulling small trailers and delivery trucks pause near our sidewalk. Here comes a package! Boxes and plastic bags prop against our doorstep without my foraying into traffic amidst cranky shoppers and aisles-long lines. I open my front door to a blast of cold, then quickly bring in each haul. 

As I slit tape and tear bags to inspect and wrap their contents, items intrigue me— then disappoint me. What IS this thing? What does it do? Imagining my loved ones unwrapping these unidentified gifts leaves me empty. My smile melts and anticipation evaporates. I mope for a week until an idea lights my eyes again.

I rub my hands together and secretly plan a gifting game with items on no one’s list. After considering each person’s hobbies, tastes and personalities, I hunt. When running an errand, I keep my eyes open for small gifts desirable for two or more family members and buy a couple of back-up gifts, in case I flop on some choices. Scoring a find elates me. She hunts and scores! A grin highjacks my face, and I clap my hands. I can’t wait for sons and daughters-in-law to open packages and to watch their scheming steals and trades punctuated with oohs, ahs and laughter.

I love giving gifts, especially when the recipient doesn’t know a gift is coming. Joy envelopes me when a gift fits the person—their eyes brighten with opening something unexpected, something special to them, something which kisses desires unmentioned or unknown until it is in their hands.

God knows our particular delights, our favorite things which are more than things, because they communicate His intimate love. I believe He enjoys surprises, because He gives unexpectedly, planned in detail, and delivered in perfect timing.

A brand new baby sleeping out of town in a food trough?! Really? Strangers, rough and regal, coming to visit? Who are these people?! A baby gift of gold marching out of the desert for a penniless, ostracized family? You knew just what we needed.

A young man greeting a newcomer to Sunday School from two states away, from the same town where he was born and attended the same church where he was baptized, who agrees to marry him before the end of a year? Who would have thought?!

Diamonds flashing on the bayou after days of gray, humidity and rain? A gift box from an anonymous giver on my desk at work? Thank You, thank You.

God descending to earth among us? 

Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, planned-out love of God, when we least expect or deserve it. 

How marvelous He acts. How lavish He gives.

His gifts are always, always– a perfect fit.

2 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. Denise Martindale

    Perfect timing! Thanks be to God! Have a house full of littles. Lots a giggles. Sometime tears. Two weeks of bliss! All our kids are planning on being here for Christmas. Some are staying for two weeks! New Yorkers and Seattle folk and Austin getting to know each other better.

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