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Advent Reflection: A Beautiful Gift

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts.... 
–Matthew 2:11

"Every year we get this charming donation for the Christmas store," shared Sio, our talented children's ministry director.  "Two matching outfits for girls. I mean they're quality. High end, boutique store quality.  Really adorable." 

The Christmas store is an important tradition at UrbanPromise. Rather than handing out gifts to families--an action than can often be disempowering and humiliating--our leaders create a store where parent can come and choose quality gifts for their children.

"The matching outfits are usually scooped up by a mother or father who has two daughters," continued Sio. "It's always a popular item for our families." 

Sio was intrigued by uniqueness of the gift. After all, why would someone go through the trouble of donating matching outfits every year? There had to be a story. So, after a little research, Sio discovered that the mystery gift was always packaged and mailed from Charlotte, NC.

"So last year when I visited Charlotte my curiosity got the best of me," chimed Sio, "I went to visit the person who sends the matching jumpsuits."

To Sio's surprise, an elderly couple were behind the gift--"a wonderful, sweet couple" who love our work and mission. Sio questioned the woman about the reason behind the gift.

"I always wanted granddaughters," confided the women. "We just never got them. So it brings me such joy to envision a couple of sisters dressed in those matching outfits."  Beautiful. That's a story.

The way people respond to the circumstances of their lives intrigues me deeply.  For some, not having grandchildren might lead to resentment or bitterness. For others, this absence or void becomes a motivating force leading to acts of generosity, thoughtfulness and beauty. Same situation--just a completely different response. Our friends from Charlotte filled their void with kindness to strangers.

In the Christmas story the Magi come to the Christ-child bearing gifts. Gifts were the only appropriate response for what they were experiencing. Words were not enough.

And that's why many of us will give gifts this Christmas. Gifts are powerful. They are our attempt to materialize the deepest intentions and feelings of our hearts for others.  May we give thoughtfully, reflectively and imaginatively.

Bruce Main
Founder & President

Questions:

  • What is the most meaningful gift you have given?  Why was it so meaningful?
  • When did you receive a meaningful gift?  What did the gift tell you about your relationship with the person?
  • Reflect on a gift God has given to you this week.