I am married to an amazing guy. The love of my life, Mike. And once in a while, he, once again, knocks me off my feet with a surprise Christmas gift, taking my breath away once again.
Our first Christmas as husband and wife, he built a manger for me out of old barn siding from his parents barn. And every Christmas since then, he buys me 1 Fontanini figurine to fill the manger. (After 18 years of marriage, it is getting full in there!)
The Christmas after our first baby, Hannah, was born, he bought me diamond earrings. They were small, but so sparkly. That shocked me, since Mike is not a shopper, especially for jewelry.
And as wonderful as those gifts were, and they were, still the BEST most surprising gift Mike ever gave me at Christmastime did not cost a penny - just his love.
It was Christmas 2002, and I was VERY pregnant with our fourth child, Riley. Christmas morning dawned, and I sat my 8 1/2 month pregnant, whale-sized body in the comfy chair to watch the kids open their presents.
That's when Mike handed me an envelope and picked up the video camera to capture my reaction on tape.
I didn't know what to expect. Had no idea what could be in the envelope.
Once I opened it, the tears began to flow down my face. I could not believe that my husband had done such a thing.
Inside the plain white envelope, was a calendar. A schedule, as it were, of women from our church whom Mike had asked to come over and spend a couple of hours each day of the week for 2 months to help me get our three older children up, dressed, fed and on the school bus.
You see, Riley was due January 8th, and I now had 3 older children to get off to school. Mike knew I was a bit nervous about being up all night with a newborn, nursing, and then getting up with the kiddos and getting them off to school. Since Mike was a school teacher himself, he also knew he would need to leave before the kids did, and that left me alone and exhausted in the mornings.
So he spent several weeks walking around church with a calendar asking some of the older women in our church if they wanted to help him surprise me with this gift.
Guess what- THEY DID!
So, for the first couple of months after Riley was born, around 6:30 in the morning, an angel would arrive in the form of a friend. They would help get our 3 older children dressed, make them breakfast, and get them on the school bus for me so I could either rest with Riley, or nurse her or do whatever I needed to do.
And many of them then came back into the house to wash a load of laundry for me, do the breakfast dishes, or run my sweeper.
As long as I live, I will never forget the gift of angels Mike gave me that year. It was a gift wrapped up in love and friendship not just from my husband, but from a dozen women in our church. I grew closer to those women throughout the experience, and have deeper friendships with them even today, over 5 years later.
So, don't get caught up in the buying of gifts this Christmas. Sometimes the BEST gifts don't cost any money at all. The best gifts come wrapped in love and friendship, and time, and faith.
Think creatively this Christmas. How can you give a gift like that to someone you love. I guarantee it will be a gift they won't fever forget, one that will never gather dust in your attic or be re-gifted to Good will in a few years.
And as much as those diamond earrings sparkled, the gift of love shines for eternity.
Enjoy the journey, Trish
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