The Christmas season is upon us. A time of giving. A time to reflect upon the greatest gift ever given to mankind: Jesus Christ. The God-man whose life is the perfect example. The One who reminds us that, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35b; KJV).
This weekend, as I contemplated the perfect gift for each family member, a student from our Sunday School class allowed me to see that sometimes the best 'gifts' aren't the ones festively wrapped and tied with a bow. Sometimes the best gift we can give someone is - time.
Our daughter, Riley and her friend Kristin (www.chics4christ.blogspot.com) had begun an afternoon Bible Study with one of our Sunday School class members. Because she lives quite a distance from us, we came up with a plan. With her parent's permission, she could come over to our house following church, have lunch, participate in the Bible study and any other activities we'd planned, then return to church with us for the evening service. Following church, we'd drive her home.
After only a couple of weeks, the three girls had developed quite a bond. Because Riley is an only child, she and our Sunday School student unofficially 'adopted' each other as sisters.
With our evening service being re-scheduled for an hour later, we thought this would be the last week that we would be able to spend the afternoon with her. With a later dismissal time, we were reluctant to still have to drop our student off before making the long drive home.
After lunch, my husband, Steve, and Riley took our guest to the mall. With Riley leaving for college next fall, a laptop computer ranks high on her Christmas wish-list. A visit to the Apple Store would be fun. A trip to Starbucks for some delicious, hot coffee drinks rounded out their afternoon. When they got home, it was clear that big fun was had by all.
The highlight of the day, came when the evening service ended with a time of family prayer and we were privileged to include our Sunday School student in our "family." Although we're not her parents, I was struck by the opportunity that the Lord has given us as her Sunday School teachers and role models. And how the Lord has allowed Riley and Kristin to further encourage her through a time of Bible study. What an awesome responsibility to be "an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12b).
When Riley and I dropped her off at her house later that evening, her gratitude was evident from her cheerful, "Thank you for everything!" Already I was regretting that this was our last Sunday to spend extra time with her. But wait, did it have to be? Her parents had given her permission to stay out an hour later, and as I glanced at the clock, it was only 8:35 p.m. We would arrive at home around 9:15 and still have time to grab a bite to eat, and get ready for Monday's events. Maybe, just maybe...
As Steve and I discussed it later, we agreed that we would make this adjustment to our schedule and be willing to continue to drive our student home following the later service, because it was definitely worth it. Without realizing it, she had given us a special 'gift.' Her grateful attitude reminded us that tangible gifts aren't necessarily the only things we can give. Oftentimes giving the gift of 'time' is much more special.
In addition to those beautiful gifts you wrap and give to your loved ones, be sure you give the gift of 'time' this Christmas season! You'll be so glad you did!