The Gift of Giving

Old-Christmas-Photo-Card-PedalCar-GraphicsFairyI have been working on my memoirs for a little over a year now. It seems I can never catch up. My advice to you is that if you are interested in writing yours, START NOW! The longer you wait the more you have to remember.

Since it is CHRISTmas I decided to write about all the Christmas’s I have experienced. Wait! I can’t do that! There are sixty-three of them. Whoa, how many? You’ve gotta be kidding me. There is no way I am that old. Okay, okay, I will choose just one to share with you. Sit back down and turn your computer back on. Whew!

When I was a child we were fortunate to live in a modest home in Baton Rouge, LA. Dad worked for the NATB (National Automobile Theft Bureau). We were not rich by any measure yet we were not as poor as some folks. We always had a great Christmas morning with lots of presents, some we asked for and some were a nice surprise. There were even presents that had riddles on them. We had to guess what they were before we could open them.

Years later Dad gave up his job because he felt the call of God into the ministry.  After several years he was called by the denominational home office to go on the mission field. In the early 1960’s we were privileged to live in British Guiana (now Guyana), South America.  There are so many stories I could tell of those years, like the time we were in the jungle and went swimming in a creek in our underwear. We chased tropical fish and then marched out of the jungle with our undeies hanging on the pole over each of our shoulders–natives laughing. Sorry, I got off track again. Since I have you back in your chair I am going to tell you of a wonderful Christmas.

The mission home was a large two story concrete home. We lived upstairs and the business of the mission was carried out down stairs. The week of Christmas was exciting. I was twelve and not yet old enough to participate in youth functions. Since the Christmas party was held downstairs in a large classroom, I was invited to participate. About twenty-five young people arrived and were excited about the evening. Each brought a present with the name of the person they had drawn at the previous monthly meeting. There were none for me or my two brothers; we were simply excited about being there for the games and food.

As the activity and fellowship began to wind down, the time came for the opening of gifts. I remember being so excited. I wanted to see what everyone was giving each other. Each person took their seat in wooden folding chairs formed in a circle around a small Christmas tree with only a few ornaments. The first name was announced. The next name would not be called until this one had opened their present and thanked whoever gave it to them. The paper was painstakingly pulled off so as not to tear it.

What are they doing? I thought to myself. Just rip it off like I do!

 The present was opened. She got up and walked over to the man who had given it to her and gave him a great big hug and sat down crying. The paper was folded nicely and placed in her purse.

A Tooth Brush?????

A Tooth Brush?????

 I was confused. I thought this was Christmas!

The next name was called. Paper was unwrapped slowly, folded with care and placed in brown paper bag.

 What??? Soap???

What???   Three bars of soap???

 The gift exchange continued…

A Comb???

A Comb???

Not a hair brush too???

Not a hair brush too???

 Come on, where is the fun stuff???  I am totally confused now??? This is not Christmas!

No! A two pack of toilet paper??? Paleeze!!!

No! A two pack of toilet paper??? Paleeze!!!

You’ve got to be kidding me, please tell me you are.

 I watched toiletry after toiletry given out to each other. The recipients were so excited and appreciative. Me? I couldn’t believe it. I was thankful my name was not on the list.

After Christmas was over, that night was still haunting me. Why did these people give such meaningless gifts? I went to Mama and asked. She smiled and said, “Andy, the people are extremely poor here. They can’t afford luxuries and fun things. For them a new toothbrush or shoe polish or even toilet paper is an exciting gift for them.”

I had never thought of it that way. These people were happy to receive a gift they needed, not one that was a choice, or a wish. The gifts were things they needed to live a comfortable life. Each was so thankful they shed tears in excitement. The giver sacrificed much to be able to give and the one receiving was blessed by their sacrifice.

This is why, at the age of twelve, I was blessed with an experience I will never forget. The true meaning for us, in the giving of gifts, is the receiving with open hearts the gift God has given to us. That gift is His Son. He is the ultimate sacrificial Lamb and is provided to everyone who is his child.

My gift that Christmas was this lesson. God tells us it is better to give than to receive. To give is a great gift in itself. When one sacrifices to give he is blessed beyond all measure. God gave us our gift through His Son the first Christmas morning. Thank You Father!

Hope this helps you as much as it did me? :-)

Hope this helps you as much as it did me? 🙂

Merry CHTISTmas Everyone!



36 thoughts on “The Gift of Giving

  1. What a great story, Andy. I loved the touches of humor in the beginning and then the sweetness of the story as it unfolded was great! What a good lesson to learn at such an early age. Most of us really do have so very much to be thankful for in this country. Thanks for blessing my day with your story. Natalie 🙂

  2. Lovely story Andy, thanks so much for sharing it. When my kids were young we used to collect items like these to put in shoeboxes and then wrap them for gifts to be sent to poorer countries as part of a charity event held by their school. I loved being able to involve them in this and try to teach them that it really is more important to give than to receive.

    How incredible that your father gave up his job for the call of the mission field and that you lived in Guyana, I would love to hear more about your experiences (or read about I should say!) one day!

    Blessings to you dear friend during this beautiful CHRISTmas season 🙂

    • Thank you Sherri. I have lots of stories about Guyana I’ll be sharing. I was surprised another time when we took the youth swimming. There is/was (?) an American air base there with a large swimming pool. We obtained permission to let them swim and when we arrived they all ran and jumped in. The surprise came when they all got back out lathered up with soap and jumped back in, lol. Then they were ready to leave. Dad had to explain to them that this was a place to have fun. Once they understood, they did have a lot if fun. They’d never been in a pool before. 🙂

  3. Oh, Andy, what a wonderful Christmas memory you shared with us. Thank you. You have blessed my heart greatly.

    My kids and I got the privilege of packing shoes boxes again this year. Many toiletries along with fun stuff given…..such a blessing. Thank you, again!!!!

    • Thank you Skye! I am thankful you were blessed! I love that you and the kids put the shoe boxes together each CHRISTmas. That will always be a special memory. Have a wonderful CHRISTmas!

  4. Pingback: The Gift of Giving | kristy4214

  5. Thank you for this lovely story about little children in other countries! So many people around the world are so content and happy with so little. We are so blessed! Thank you for reminding me yet once again!

    • You are so welcome. I appreciate your comment. We get so caught up in our own little world we forget others. I was so impressed with my experience that as an adult I don’t ask for presents anymore–the children do get me something, though 🙂

  6. Hmmmm back to Anne, what happened to Annie? do you know Jesus calls me Annie, my name Anne comes from the Hebrew name Hannah meaning grace and includes, Anna and Annie and maybe others, I’m not sure.

    But thank you Andy for not calling me Grannie Annie, I know your as old as you feel but that would make me 108 if you were my Grandchild but at least you would be potty trained 🙄

    But for sure your real Grandparents must have been very proud of you (No cost)

    I will be in touch soon in reply to your e-mail, I’m working my way through all of mine – Annie

  7. The money is on the way, it took her all day to decide if I was worth it. I had to promise my left kidney and my right eye ball but she regretfully relented. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, my Aussie friend, if it get stuck in cyberspace!

    • So good to hear you are a willing Donner Andy, I have also donated my Body or what is left of it to help others when I pass over but of course not to your wifey.

      It seems we have already lost a few of our comments and reply’s in Cyberspace but never mind I have a copy and will post them again.

      Take care my American friend – Anne

    • Sorry Andy, time has run out, the collectors will be calling on you soon, please have your left kidney and right eye ball ready for dispatch, but please do not feel I have not valued our Cyber Space encounter, we may have lost it but your gift of giving will long be remembered by those who will be using your left kidney and right eye ball and believe me, if that is at all possible, in my books your Tops (No cost)

      Always appreciative – Annie

  8. How wonderful Andy that you are a willing Donner, I have also donated my Body or what is left of it to help others when I pass over but of course not to your wifey.

    It seems we have already lost a few of our comments and reply’s in Cyberspace but never mind I have a copy and will post them again.

    Take care my American friend – Anne

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