It was getting close to Christmas and I was feeling extremely depressed the closer it came. I had recently become a single Mom, and was having a hard time with the holiday festivities. The church we were attending was having a sit-down dinner and I had decided not to go, as my heart was just not in it. However, my mother kept encouraging me to go -- and finally I gave in.
I can still remember how lovely the table looked. As I sat down I noticed a simple package had been set at each place setting. The packages were wrapped in white tissue paper & tied with green ribbon -- the tag attached contained the following poem:
This is a very special gift,You can never see.
The reason it’s so special,
Is it’s just for you, from me.
Whenever you are lonelyOr even feeling blue,
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.
You never can unwrap it,
Please leave the ribbon tied;
Just hold this box
Close to your heart,
It’s filled with love inside.
The thought of that little package, at such a difficult time in my life, was a blessing to my soul -- and just what I needed. I brought it home and placed it under our Christmas tree, as the first gift of Christmas. And that was when I came up with the idea of the "Jesus Gift" -- Jesus gift of love to us being himself...the reason we celebrate Christmas.
And so our tradition began -- Each year the first gift under the tree is the "Jesus Gift". And it's also the first present taken out from under the tree Christmas morning. One of our family will read the poem attached, then we'll each take turns holding the "gift" and say what our birthday gift will be to Jesus for the following year. Instead of New Year's resolutions, we offer a gift to Jesus. It might be the gift of volunteering more, or reading the bible in a year, or maybe even something more specific.
This year I had to re-package ours as it was quite yellow with age, so I used one sheet of 12x12 white cardstock to wrap a small box. With the leftover card I stamped an image on the front of the manger scene "O Holy Night", by Northwoods, and printed the poem for the inside. The simple green ribbon is seam binding.
Every year I try to make a few of these gifts to share with others. I like to share the story of the tradition of the "Jesus Gift" -- but how they choose to use this gift of love is up to them.
I hope this story of our Christmas tradition will warm your heart, and give you a chance to invite Jesus into your Christmas celebration too.
Warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas!
God Bless -- Lisa