A Perfect Present for Christmas

December 15, 2009

I went to the mall. I was looking for something really special this year. I wanted to say I really love you to you and so I followed the rows and rows of full cars until I arrived at the biggest collection of stores I’d ever been to. I was amazed at how many different stores there were. Each one of them had a sign in their storefront window. There must have been two hundred signs that claimed they had the perfect Christmas gift. Music made me feel Christmassy. I saw the Santa and he smiled at me. It made me feel like I was six again. Lights flashed and danced across the tinseled hallways. I loved my walk.

I started going into every store to find the perfect gift. I looked at clothes. A lot of them were really stylish. Some would make you look thinner while others made you look fun. Some were very expensive and would tell people that you were wealthy. Some were really casual and would show others how at home you were with yourself. I liked them. But then I thought, “These styles will be gone in a year. Even the best clothes made will only last a few years.”

I wanted the gift to last longer than that.

I went to a few more stores. One offered me some extremely tasty summer sausage and cheese. I love food and thought that this might be perfect. The memory of the great flavor would linger past the gift. I thought, “This will be eaten so quickly. My friend will be sad when it’s gone.”

I didn’t want to make you sad. So I moved on.

I sniffed all of the fragrances. I looked at all of the mantle place decorations. I looked at almost every movie, video game and listened to hundreds of pieces of music.

I sat down at a coffee house with a eggnog late’ in order to clear my senses and make an informed decision. None of those things would last long enough or be remembered for all of your life. They just were not good enough to tell you how loved you were. They would make you happy for a month or two, but… Well, I wanted more for you.

I started to ask people what the perfect Christmas gift would be. Wow! Did I ever get different answers. Some teenagers wanted a 1.21 gigawatts Ipod. A woman with four kids in two strollers said she wanted a babysitter and a day at the spa. One man said that he wanted a new gun. I moved away from him pretty fast. He looked aggravated at the crowd. A little boy wanted just about every toy ever developed. He wanted transformers and toy cars and a video game and a machine that made candy worms and one that melted chocolate and one that shrunk stuff and a chemistry set and… I walked away from him too.

Gift certificates seemed like a cop out. Besides I just couldn’t decide on an amount that would show you how much I loved you. Everything I saw was nice enough for someone else, but just not good enough for you.

Jewelry seemed like it was a great gift because people always kissed after they opened jewelry. I thought that would be awkward. I love you… just not that way!

I knew you didn’t really want a new car with a bow on top. I don’t think that the bow would help with gas mileage. The bow itself would be great but would leave you wondering where you could put it.

I had heard of a wealthy person who bought a house for someone they loved. That’s a great gift! I knew that you already had a home.

Vacations are awesome too! I wanted to spend time with you. At the end of the vacation, however, we would both be depressed that we had to return to normal life again. I wanted a gift that was a part of your everyday life. I asked a few more people.

A little girl said that she wanted a doll and that was all. I liked her. I knew that you didn’t need a doll.

I asked a young lady sitting on a bench what the perfect gift would be this year. She started to cry. All she wanted was to have her husband home safe from Afganistan. I wanted to help her be happy but I knew that I couldn’t find her husband. That started me thinking.

Maybe I couldn’t buy the perfect gift. I needed to find someone who was wise. Age gives wisdom so I left the mall and went to a medical care facility that worked with older people. I thought that they may have a few wise people there. I went door-to-door, bed to bed and asked everyone the same question. “What is the perfect Christmas present?”

They didn’t ask for much. I knew that I couldn’t give them anything they wanted though. A man said that he wanted to run like he was eighteen again. Another man told me that he just wanted these, well I shouldn’t repeat that word, nurses to leave him alone. One lady just wanted a glass of water. I gave her one but thought that she might get thirsty sometime when I wasn’t there.

One lady said she wanted for it to snow. Another woman said she would be happy if her family would come and visit her. A very quiet man in the comfortable chair beside the television said he wanted his wife back. A few said they couldn’t hear me, so I guessed they wanted better hearing. One man said he wanted to live forever, and a lady told me that she wanted to die. A couple wanted to see again and a few more said that they used to have beautiful singing voices and wanted them back. Most of the older people seemed to be asking for something they had lost.

As I was leaving the parking lot I saw a man who was pushing a shopping cart. I asked him. He wanted a lot. He wanted his life back. He also wanted to be sober. Then he asked me to buy him a drink. I explained that I wasn’t asking about the present for him. I hoped that he could find somebody who could get him what he wanted for Christmas. He sure kept talking though. I guess what he really wanted was for someone to talk to him. I gave him what I could but it was getting late and I had to get you something.

I prayed, “Jesus. You are the giver of good gifts. What is the perfect gift to show my love to my friend?”

He thought for a minute before he answered me.

“Let me see. You would want something that will bring joy. Happiness doesn’t last very long. You need a present that lasts. That is for sure. You want a gift that restores youthful hope… running like you were a kid again and that sort of thing. Health is pretty important. The problem with most health is that it gives way to sickness. You need the kind that lasts forever.”

I nodded. “Yeah. I thought that too.”

“Family has to be included in the perfect gift,” he continued. “ I mean, really great gifts are always supposed to be, better if they are shared.”

Something that is like a cup of the best water ever; totally refreshing and completely fulfilling. The gift should be rich beyond all treasures and simple beyond the most basic need.“

I asked, “Do you know where I can find the present like that?”

Jesus smiled. “I was hoping you’d ask. I have it right here with me.”

I paused. It is probably more expensive than jewelry though, isn’t it?”

“And cars or houses. It’s better than a vacation though.”

I frowned in thought, “Jesus, I could never afford something like that. I really love my friend but…”

Jesus laughed out loud. “Relax. This one’s been taken care of. I bought it on the first Christmas and I bought it again thirty-three years later. I have given it away every year since then to anyone who wants the perfect gift.”

He handed me a box. I was surprised that it had my name on it. “Jesus,” I started to say, but he caught me in mid-sentence. When you give it to your friend it will have their name on it. Merry Christmas.”

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