The Best Gifts

By Cindy Patience

October, November, December 2015

Tim and Ariel had spent the afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa’s house helping to decorate for the Holidays. While rummaging through Grandma’s Christmas boxes, they came across a small wrapped present.

"What’s this Grandma?" asked Ariel. She picked up the present and shook it gently as Tim looked on curiously.

"Oh, that is….well, that is one of the three very best presents ever," answered Grandma, with a twinkle in her eyes. "Keep digging and you will find two more," she directed.

Tim anxiously waded through the newspaper in the storage box and soon found one, and then two more wrapped boxes. "Can we open them, Grandma?" asked Tim.

"It depends upon whether or not you want the responsibility that comes with the gifts," she replied.

"Oh, you mean like when we got a puppy for Christmas and we had to agree to take care of it?" asked Tim.

"Kind of," Grandma replied. "But this is a very special responsibility," she explained.

"We will be responsible Grandma, please let us open the presents!" Ariel pleaded.

"I get to go first!" proclaimed Tim, who was the oldest, as he hurriedly tore open the first package. Inside the box was a small gold bracelet charm in the shape of a crown.

"Oh" said Tim, "This is for a girl’s bracelet." He shoved the gift into Ariel’s hands, a bit disappointed.

"It is a King’s crown, Tim but it is so much more than that," explained Grandma.  "It represents the gold that the Magi brought to Jesus. It represents royalty, and wealth; not worldly wealth, but the richness that the gospel gives to us. This charm reminds us to behave like royalty, a child of the King, and to share this great gift of the gospel truth with others."

Tim and Ariel nodded their heads agreeing, but were still a little confused.

Ariel opened the next package and found a small bottle of perfume. She removed the cap and took a small whiff, smiling pleasantly at the sweet aroma. "Mmm!" she said. "This smells really nice, Grandma. Can I put some on?"

"Only after you understand what that really means," replied Grandma. "When you put that perfume on, you are to remember the sweet Frankincense that the Magi brought to baby Jesus. Frankincense not only smelled good, but it came at a great cost and was used for healing those who were ill and broken. Jesus gave us the chance to be healed and forgiven at the great cost of laying down His life. Frankincense represented God’s desire to heal His children, but first they had to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. So, when you wear this perfume, you must remember to always come to him humbly, and then to share this sweet aroma with others."

This time Tim and Ariel seemed to understand better, and together they carefully opened the third gift. Inside was a bottle of spices. Tim opened the jar and shook some into his hand and tasted it. "Ugh, that’s bitter, Grandma!" complained Tim.

‘Yes, but if you put it into a recipe that is sweet, it is quite good," Grandma answered, offering Tim and Ariel some gingerbread cookies. "This gift should remind us of the bitter herb called Myrrh that the Magi also brought to the baby Jesus. It reminds us that life isn’t always easy and to expect the bitter with the sweet. Also, Myrrh was used to anoint the bodies of those who died and reminds us that we must die to the bad things in our lives in order to receive the sweetness of the Spirit.

Ariel and Tim quietly thought for awhile and then put the items neatly back in their packages. They knew that Grandma loved them and had shared something very special with them. Before they left for home, they threw their arms around Grandma’s neck grateful for the "best gifts" she had taken the time to share with them that winter afternoon.