Being known, being thankful

Do you like gifts?  Most people like to receive gifts, some people are all about giving gifts.  I really enjoy receiving simple gifts that the giver is joyful about giving.  Crayon pictures from children and smiles from babies kind of joyful giving, know what I mean?  Those sort of gifts are all about love.

In the gift-giving department, I love to find a gift that expresses how I know a person, that will represent my caring for them.  I like to give it to them personally; preferably not as part of a pile of party gifts.  I deplore that gift opening frenzy that is part of most children’s parties precisely because it steals something from the exchange.  What does it steal? Thankfulness.

I received some of those joyfully-given gifts recently.  Some of the gift-givers were so excited about the gifts that they couldn’t wait even for the appointed day, but gave them to me as soon as possible.  A few weeks ago, my husband bounded in the door after work calling “close your eyes!” and presented me with a program from the Subway Series weekend at Shea Stadium, along with the 2008 Mets Yearbook (he’d asked a co-worker who was attending to bring them back).  A very cool surprise.

My daughter never wants to wait to give a gift.  She puts so much thought into what she wants to give, frequently gives sacrificially, and gets super-excited with anticipation – it’s hard for her to wait.  She recently gave me a clear snap-on case for my laptop; it was intended for my birthday, but it was given weeks ahead of time because she was so excited.  I really like the case, but I love her thoughtful enthusiasm more!

Saturday evening, the guys in the house decided it was time for me to receive their gifts.  (It still wasn’t my birthday, but they couldn’t wait any longer!)  Again, thoughtful, simple gifts that reflected that I’d been heard (a book I’d mentioned in a blog post), and was known (an autographed baseball) expressed caring to me.  So did the approximately 5 gazillion email, twitter and facebook birthday wishes – even a couple of paper cards! – a little overwhelming, but so appreciated.

I am so thankful for these expressions of knowing.  I don’t like having a “big deal” made over me in 99.9% of situations, but I think it’s important for people to celebrate the relationships they have with people, to demonstrate that there is something authentic, apprehended and appreciated, between individuals.  I don’t think that kind of thing needs to wait for birthdays and anniversaries, arrivings and leavings, or occasions in general… they can happen on those days (and do most often) or everyday or, rather, any day in the simplest of ways.

So, my birthday wish?  I hope that you will show someone through something simple that you know them, that you have joy in your relationship with them, and that you’re thankful for them.  Today.

Love is extravagant like that.

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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