Thursday, December 4, 2014

Watching for God's Quiet Gifts This Holiday Season: The Gift of Real

Sometimes God’s gifts, the Genuine, come after a long stewardship of Less-Than, Silver-Plated, and just plain Plastic.

Growing up my family did not have much money for extra luxuries, but my best friend’s did. She was often displaying her latest piece of genuine gold jewelry, much to my admiration and secret envy. Rings with sparkling diamonds, delicate herringbone gold chain necklaces, small shining sapphire earrings. 

I longed for something real with which to impress her and prove my beauty and value.

One Christmas, my mother presented to me a special gift. She was a factory worker, and her money was hard-earned. A friend was selling jewelry that year, just in time for the holidays. The price was affordable and my gift was carefully wrapped and placed under the tree.

On Christmas morning, I gasped as I opened this unexpected treasure. Inside the small box nestled a beautiful gold ring. Upon its delicate prongs sat a ring of diamonds, encircling a smaller ring of rubies, with an iridescent opal taking center stage. It was perfect.

That afternoon, I headed straight to my best friend’s house to show her my Real ring.

After the initial oohs and aahs, my friend asked to try the ring on herself. Smug that I had inspired admiration and envy of my own now, I handed it to her and stepped out of the room for a moment. As I returned, I heard her discussing my ring.  

“I’m sure it’s fake,” she said to her older brother. 

“Give it to me,” he replied.  

I walked in just as they were rubbing it wildly on her cheek. Everyone knows that real gold makes a mark on makeup. I held my breath and watched as a black line appeared on her face. Phew! It passed the test, I thought to myself. 

That is, until they looked up and saw me, and handed the ring back sheepishly. The “real gold” had rubbed off due to their efforts. Now a dull grey shone beneath.

I don’t remember what I did next. What I do know is that my pursuit of the Real became more determined, more desperate, that day. In my search over the years since, I have tested many things that were no more than cheap metal rings with fake stones, posing as Genuine.

After so many of those disappointments, one learns to be more cautious, more patient, more discerning. I have learned how to choose my friends more wisely now, identifying the difference between Real friendship and selfishness. 

I have learned to look beyond the token in the pretty Christmas box to see the loving heart of the one who gave it as the Real gift. I did, after all, receive a very Real gift that Christmas day, the gift of my mother’s sacrifice and love.

When my husband asked me to marry him, he placed a diamond ring on my finger whose diamond was originally given to his mother by his father upon their engagement. I have learned from him and his family that Real value and worth is passed down by loving hearts from generation to generation.

Most of all, I have learned that there is a Real part of Christmas that cannot be tarnished, and will never fade. It is the gift of a Real God with a Real love for the Real me, just as I am. And He really did come to us as a baby on a silent night so long ago.

It would seem that I have reached my goal in pursuit of the Real.

As you prepare for Christmas this year, won’t you take a minute to share with me the gift of Real in your life? 

1 comment:

  1. Sweet story. And yes, you have found what is real, and lasting. You have been given the better part in realizing the true gift was in your mother's heart. What peace and contentment comes in realizing you had it all alone... from your family, and more importantly, from God.
    Blessings to you!