Gifts are bought or made. I'm ready to wrap them and place them under the tree. Yet. I find myself wandering the aisles. Searching. I pick up a pretty bauble. Set it down. Choose a book. Put it back. Frustration sets in. I cannot find what I want.
Almost to the point of tears, I realize that what I'm looking for are gifts I cannot give.
There is much sadness in my world. Oh, there is also joy in abundance, but today the sadness overwhelms me.
For one who has suffered multiple and deep loss this year, I want to wrap up hope fulfilled in the prettiest box under the tree.
For loved ones suffering physical ills I'd like to hand the gift of freedom from pain. Healing.
To another who wrestles with doubt and fear I'd give simple trust and faith.
There are those who need a bow-tied package of reconciliation, of peace.
And love. I want everyone to know they are loved, deeply. The presents I wrap and place under the tree are but a token of love. Yet my love cannot give the gifts I want most to give.
I head homeward again, having purchased nothing. The words of the song come to me,
O Little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
The words "the hopes and fears of all the years" resonate deeply. For the hopes and fears of frail humanity God sent the ultimate gift, the Christ child. Gifts of hope, joy, love and peace. Gifts I long for those I love and the world beyond. God with us. In the midst of the pain, the despair, the doubt and fear. Immanuel. God with me. God with you.