“Don’t peek, Mama,” my little girl said as her daddy helped into her the car.
“I wouldn’t dare,” I said covering my eyes with my hands.
Her arms were full with a shopping bag, which was full with a present she picked just for me. A birthday present that was her idea. A present she bought with piggy-bank quarters and chore earned dimes.
Together we drove home where her five-year-old hands wrapped up her gift.
“Here, Mama, open it,” she said. With the family gathered round I ripped into the paper and uncovered a beautiful purse. A perfect pursue, just for me.
“Aletheia! I love it!” I said as I reached for my girl and held her tight. “Thank you so much.”
“I picked it just for you,” she said her voice full of happiness.
Now, I really do love my purse. It’s a color that matches everything. It’s big and holds all my stuff. But, to be honest, that purse could have been camouflage with rainbows and unicorns. It could have been as big as tent or as small as a napkin and I would still think it the greatest purse in the world. Because my daughter gave it to me. My daughter, with her precious, little girl heart, chose this gift to show me her love.
As Aletheia helped me fill my new purse I thought of how this gift reflects the gifts we give to God. I considered how loved I felt in that moment and wondered if that is how God feels when we give Him gifts that come from our hearts. When we give to Him, not out of obligation, or duty, or routine, but simply because we love Him, because we want to give Him something special, something we hope will make Him happy.
We are His children and perhaps it’s never really about the gift itself but the heart and the love that comes with it.
There are stories in the Bible about women who gave special gifts to Jesus. One woman took a bottle of expensive perfume and poured it over his feet. Another took the only pennies she had and gave them to God at the temple.
In both stories, God accepted these gifts and was greatly pleased. He honored these women not so much for their gifts but for the extravagant love behind them.
In God’s eyes, pennies can be extravagant, perfume a lavish gift, when they come from a child He loves, from a child who loves Him.
I love the thought of making God feel the way I felt as I watched my daughter count out her money, shop with her dad, wrap her present, and give it me.
Our gifts to God can be so much more than money. They can be time spent with him. They can be writing a blog or helping in the nursery at church. They can be extravagant, they can be simple. They can be anything and everything that comes from our heart, anything that is given as a passionate expression of love for Him.
In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 8, Paul refers to the ‘grace of giving’ and while I’m not exactly sure what he meant when he wrote these words to the Corinthians I think there is a certain grace that flows through the gifts we give to God.
That God can take our gifts and makes them enough is grace.
That we, His children, can receive His gifts and give back to Him is grace.
That we can make Him feel happy and loved with big things and little things, with pennies and perfume, with what we have, with what’s in our hearts is grace, upon grace, upon grace.
And this, too, is grace that I can be the child who loves my Father so much, I can’t help but give Him something special. Something I chose just for Him.
The purse my daughter gave me, it is a treasure, it’s a symbol of her love, and a reminder of how I want to give to God, of how I hope my gifts make Him feel.
May all the gifts we give to Him come with such passion, such joy, such love.
May He find such pleasure in us.