As Christmas approaches one of the things that most people focus on is gift giving. We spend a lot of money and time finding the right gifts for people that are important in our life. Sometimes we fail in our gift giving.
One Christmas when my son was a young boy, we nearly ruined his Christmas with one particular gift. One of the jobs that he was given around the house was sweeping the kitchen floor. That Christmas we bought a stick vacuum cleaner and thought it would be funny to give to him as a gift. When it was wrapped, the vacuum was the largest gift under the tree. When my son saw that the largest gift had his name on it he was very excited. His imagination went wild. What could that present be? His whole Christmas revolved around the largest gift under the tree. When Christmas morning arrived, all he could think about was that gift. When he opened it, he was so disappointed that the rest of his Christmas presents couldn't make up for the vacuum cleaner fiasco.
Have you ever been disappointed by a gift? Has someone been disappointed by the gift you gave them? What about great gifts? What is the best gift you have ever received? What made it so
special? Was it the value of the gift? Was it the person who gave it
to you? Was it because it was so unexpected?
think about this question I find it hard to narrow down one particular
gift as the best. There is one gift that I received that was very
special for a number of reasons. One of the reasons this particular
gift was special is that I still don’t know who gave me the gift. Let
me tell you the story.
In February 2004, 17 members of
my church raised 20,000 dollars and went to San Pedro, Belize in Central
America to build a church. While we were there we made lots of
friends. We were only in San Pedro for a short time, but by the time we
left the walls of the church were finished. During the following
months, the church members in San Pedro finished the church building.
Plans were made for a church dedication service to be held in February
2005. I was invited to come to the dedication service. I really wanted
to go. This church building project had been very important to me, and
I had made many friends in San Pedro that I wanted to see again. There
was just one problem. I couldn’t afford the trip.
THE NEW HORIZON SDA CHAPEL IN SAN PEDRO BELIZE
day I received a letter in the mail from Fare Finders Travel. Why were
they sending me a letter? When I opened the letter I was surprised by
what it said. Please come in to Fare Finders to make arrangements for a
round trip ticket to Belize. Someone has paid for the ticket, but they
want to remain anonymous. I couldn’t believe it. My wife immediately
tried to figure out who the anonymous donor was. She still hasn’t
cracked the case. It is still an unsolved mystery. The mysterious
ticket has to be one of the best gifts I have ever received.
made plans to go back to San Pedro. As we packed and attended to all
the details of the trip, the mystery giver was in our thoughts. Who was
this person who had given such a meaningful and valuable gift? How
could we thank the giver?
Our trip to Belize was
wonderful. It was very special to me to see the completed church
building. The dedication service was beautiful and moving with people
from several different countries participating. We got reacquainted
with friends that we had made the year before, and made many new
friends the 10 days that we were there. Many times friends would stop
by our room with gifts such as fresh coconut water, papaya, or some
small trinket. On the last day we were in San Pedro, there was a steady
stream of visitors at our room. They wanted to tell us goodbye. Most
of them brought a gift.
GINA AND I WITH SOME OF OUR FRIENDS IN SAN PEDRO
received one gift that was very special to me. My wife made a special
friendship with a little 2 year old boy who spoke only Spanish.
Whenever he would see her his face would light up. He didn’t understand
English, but he understood the language of love. The day we were
leaving he and his 4 year old sister came to our door with a gift. They
gave us a well worn 1941 Walking Liberty half dollar. I have no idea
how this little family had come into possession of this coin, or why
they gave it to me. Even though the monetary value of the coin is only a few dollars it is one of the most precious gifts I have
GINA'S SPECIAL FRIEND, ANGEL
learned an important spiritual lesson on my trip to Belize. I learned
it from the people that I met. They had such a desire to do something
for us. Even though they had only meager possessions, they had such a
desire to please. They wanted to see us before we left. They had to
bring us a gift. It was very important to them. To me that showed how I
should relate to God. God, I don’t have anything but I want to give
you something. God let me know what I can do to please you. God I
want to be with you.
Romans 6:23 the Bible tells us “the wages of sin is death, but the gift
of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”. God has given
you the best gift ever, what will you give God this Christmas?
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.