I was reminded this week of a Christmas story I wanted to share with you. It is a story that began the Christmas I was 17 and, I thought, finished when I was 21. But several years ago when I needed to speak at a women’s retreat, the Lord brought the story to mind again and showed me a spiritual truth in it that I had not seen before. Now I’d like to share the whole story with you.
I always had a penchant for books. And really long books were my favorite. So digging around under the Christmas tree my senior year of high school, I found a book-shaped package with my name on it. I thrilled at the thickness of it. I wondered what it could be. I pondered day and night until curiosity got the best of me. One day when no one was around, I took my package into the bathroom and locked the door. Then I carefully unwrapped it. Heart pounding with excitement, I turned it over.
Jane Austen, the cover read, followed by what appeared to be several titles. Who in the world is that? (Yes, even in my AP English class we didn’t read her.) I had a vague sense that she had written things long ago. Disappointed, I re-wrapped the book and set it back under the tree.
Christmas morning, I unwrapped it and pretty much tossed it aside without another thought. Fast forward three years. I’m in college now, majoring in history, minoring in English. I take a class called The English Novel where I read Emma by Jane Austen. I’m hooked. I love this woman! Even then it takes a little while to connect her to the dust-gathering monstrosity of a book on my bookshelf. I pull it down. The book contains all of Austen’s works. I am amazed. I am thrilled. An unexpected gift that was already mine!
Many years later, the Lord brought this story to mind and I saw it in a whole new light. I realized that often we receive gifts from the Lord that puzzle us. We have little to no understanding of what to do with it, why it is important. We toss it aside, let it gather dust, until one day something triggers a memory of that gift and makes it suddenly relevant. And often, like my Jane Austen collection, not just relevant, but a treasure.
So as you unwrap your gifts this Christmas, remember that some gifts take time to appreciate. And remember that the gifts God gives to us are never without reason.