On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4
Happy (first) Monday! I have been off work for nearly 2 weeks and feel like I am relearning everything in my work world all over again. I just had a quick thought for you today. Take it how you will, knowing I am a Christian believer, but I am generally not looking for superstitious things actively all around me. I don’t think your (or my) Dorito is shaped like Jesus nor do I fear opening an umbrella inside of my house. However, this one encouraged me…and perhaps me alone…so I shall share it with you.
I was reflecting on the Christmas season yesterday while looking through the fridge (yet again…I GOTTA get back on the wagon!) and noticed anew my mom’s picture that she had drawn me 2 years ago. Here it is (on the left) and here is a craft (on the right) she was helped to make at the hospital as well:
I absolutely love the one on the left. (The one on the right is wonderful too…but I suspect the nurse helped with it more.) Click on the left picture and blow it up and look it over…it is amazing, especially but not limited to the fact that it was being drawn by someone really struggling with dementia… I wouldn’t trade it to you for a winning Powerball ticket. Here is a little poem-ish (and a better picture) I whipped up about it:
What got me thinking about gifts was probably environmental. I was standing at the stocked fridge, next to our large trash can still full of wrapping paper, broken gift boxes (to the dismay of my box-reusing wife), and Amazon cardboard….and a wave of emotion came over me as I compared this little gift my mom had made me for Christmas 2 years ago.
See, to most it would seem that mom couldn’t give much. She was already a tightly-wrapped mayfly in the spider’s web of dementia. However, what she loved (art and music) always finds a way out in generous helpings. It sure did on this last little tangible gift she would ever be able to give me.
How did I/we ever go so wrong on the whole gift getting thing?!? I mean, just a few short years before, mom could have given me a bunch of money. She has always been one of the most generous people I know. I probably would have said thanks and gave a hug…but I would have still missed how much she cared. Then dementia came in greater force. A few years pass and a muddled drawing now outvalues a Picasso to me. Somehow she knew exactly what I needed that day in the hospital, and it still blows me away how amazing she is and how unappreciative I have been.
And the Bible verse above? First, read it in context here. Read all verses in context! 🙂 For 3 decades, Jesus walked the Earth and, once people found out what He could do, they often missed the Giver for the gifts. Many received miracles…many. All over the region. Then their fallen state of human-ness kicked in. They asked for miracle after miracle after miracle, and, when they weren’t granted exactly what they thought they wanted, they first pouted, then were angry. Ultimately Christ disappointed the mob who wanted Him to use His strength to rule and to kick out the oppressive Romans….and they nailed Him to a cross for it and He gave up His life. Where were the thousands and thousands He blessed? Probably apathetically snoozing. Then He was raised to life! He appeared to many as if He hadn’t gone. At the end (see the verse), before departing to heaven, He told His followers to wait in town for the best gift of all…one that could have been thought of as a departing gift….the Holy Spirit, who would live with them forever.
My points in this odd thought mixture brought about by the verse of the day and mom’s picture:
- Appreciate gifts and the givers…today.- It truly is the thought…and the thinker who thought of the gift…that counts.
- You never know when a gift will be the last. If we treated every gift and giver like the end was near, it would change out thoughts…or it should, at least.
- The Lord knows what we need better than we do– The people wanted a military ruler. They will get their Ruler someday when He returns. However, in the process some missed the more timely and important gift than freedom from Rome… the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. They should have knew better…for generations they had prepared. The memories of the crucifixion were still fresh. But most failed…and lest we be proud, we would have botched it too.
- Sometimes you can learn about the giver from last gifts. Jesus was fully God and fully man…but He was only at one place at a time. The Spirit can and does indwell every believer and is exactly what we need.
- Faith is a gift. Ephesians 2 and other places remind us that even our faith is a gift. If we relied on our own ability to muster up enough, we wouldn’t. If you are struggling, pray and ask for more faith. Don’t give up on the gift or the Giver…
- Mom…and my whole family… has been a gift to me my whole life. Are we perfect? Nope…but I am thankful, in increasing measures, all the time.
- Leave a legacy that will last. I hear folks talk about leaving a legacy all the time. Want to leave a real legacy that is unforgettable? Don’t build monuments. Love your neighbor and help those who need it. Our community needs it.
Update: Nothing new to report. Mom is back to stable and doing about the same. We have met a few times and decided to wait to see if the nursing home opens up in the next 2 months after vaccinations are administered to all involved. I am not anti-vax in any sense, but this one does give me pause… There is a lot riding on it working.