Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gifts & Giving

Before the boys woke up on Christmas morning, I sat in the big chair in the living room and enjoyed the glow of the lights on the tree, in the windows, and on the banisters. All was peace. My mind gradually settled on the presents. On Christmas Eve, my oldest son had wondered aloud where the tradition of "wrapping gifts in silly paper" came from. This morning, as I looked over the gifts, I remembered the story of the three wise men and the gifts they brought to the Christ child.

I thought there may be a connection between the gifts the magi brought to the baby in the manger and the gifts we give to those we love. Whether we recognize it or not, when we give a present to someone, we are giving our best, wrapped in our love and hope for their happiness, to the best in another. We've been thinking of them, their interests, their hopes, their dreams, their desires. What we give them lifts them up, affirms their talents, or brings them joy (or perhaps gives them comfort, warmth, or freedom from care).

In the Quaker tradition, we talk about the divine spirit within each living person and creature. The gifts we give each other could be, like the gifts of the magi, a living demonstration of the love we bring to others who--thank God--are walking the earth with us at this time.

I hope wherever you find yourself this holiday season, and whatever your own tradition of celebration for the birth of hope and reconciliation may be, you experience the peace, connectedness, and divine joy that exist in this very moment. :)

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