Advent Day 5

Gratitude, Unwrapped

By Edie Finnell,
Selah Companion

One of my favorite picture books is Pearl Buck’s Christmas Day in the Morning. It tells the story of an older man remembering Christmas past. He recalls when he was a young boy who wanted to give his father a gift to show him how much he is loved. He takes time to consider how much he values his father and longs to give him something special, even though he can afford very little. 

In a flash of excitement, he surprises his father by doing his father’s chores. The boy gets up in the early dark of morning and performs all his father’s chores in the yard, and sneaks back into bed. As a reader, I anticipate, with the boy, the moment his father realizes what has happened. He receives the gift with surprise and wonder, deeply touched by his son’s selfless, meaningful act.

This story makes me wonder what it would be like to give gifts in such a mindful way. In recent years, holiday gift buying has become more of a to-do checklist and a “buy now” click. 

What if

I were to

take a moment

to speak a word

of blessing

for each daughter

in gratitude

for their place

in my life?

With three daughters, I’m often more concerned about equity than the actual gifts themselves. I wonder what it would be like to pause more during this gift-buying season and think more about the person and less about the gift. 

Instead of checking off a box and ensuring I have my bases covered, what if I were to take a moment to say a word of blessing for each daughter in gratitude about their place in my life? It is a small practice, yet like the boy in the story, gift-giving can be a transformative experience of letting someone know they are deeply treasured and loved. I can forget this during the hurried pace of the holidays, but I long to remember what matters. Perhaps the seemingly tiny act of pausing extends such an invitation. 

May this season, which can be complicated, offer moments of pausing to remember those you love and have loved and move you to breathe deeply in gratitude for the gift of their lives.

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