Today, I stepped into my Sunday school class, and there was a gift bag and a giant wrapped thing that sort of looked like a wrapped fruit basket.
I thought, "Hmmm."
As the ladies drifted into class, the pile grew as several added to the collection. I started off with a small devotional and we took prayer requests. All the while, I was peering around this small mountain of gifts and bags.
Eventually, I was told, the gifts were for me! My sweet cousin-in-law, Cindy, who is in my class, had organized it all.
The class was asked to bring in things that were either their favorites they wanted to share OR something that was one of my favorites. Cindy told me that she had told them there wasn't any kind of dollar amount and it didn't have to be a lot - just a token.
Well, they went WHOLE HOG!!!
I'm not often speechless - I think I can remember maybe two other times when I've been struck dumb - but today I was.
As I opened the bags and read the sweet notes and cards, my eyes misted and my nose burned and I felt perilously close to tears. Inside those bags and the big basket were chocolates (Lindt truffles - my favorites!), 5 boxes of tea, several pairs of fuzzy socks, candles, lotions and shower gels, books, a movie, 2 pairs of earrings, several coffee mugs with cute plaques, a handcrafted purse and several other things I can't remember right off the top of my head. There were even a couple items for my dog! (everyone knows I love my pupster!)
To say I was overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness and generosity is an understatement. While I appreciated each of those gifts, what I appreciated even more was the thoughts behind them.
Long after the last truffle is eaten (sooner than I thought since my family members seem love them too!) and the last bit of lotion is rubbed in, I'll still have the cards and notes from each of the dear women in my class.
To be honest, I love to teach Sunday school because I love to teach God's Word. I'm always so excited when God shows me something and I can't wait to share it with someone else, so being able to teach Sunday school gives me a chance to do what I love. It's a blessing and a privilege to me, and it doesn't really feel like work at all.
So, I am doubly blessed to know that the ladies who come every week enjoy the class too. I'm humbled to know that our class is blessing them in some way, too.
So, while I plan on enjoying the truffles and tea and various other goodies I was given, what means the most to me is the thoughts behind those gifts. I know for some of those women, it was a financial sacrifice to buy another gift.
It's a lesson to me that generosity, in whatever form, is never a mistake. You can't be too kind. You can't be too generous.
A generous heart is the true gift behind the present.
This is a season of presents, and it can be really easy to get caught up in buying a big enough gift or a certain number of presents. For me, though, the thing that means the most is that someone took the time and effort to get me something I would like or enjoy.
It really IS the thought that counts.
I guess the whole idea of Christmas is built on the idea of a carefully thought out gift - Jesus Christ coming to earth as a baby. As I opened all my gifts today, I kept thinking about God carefully planning out His gift to not just all of mankind, but to me. Jesus come to earth as a man - now that was true generosity!
~ Blessings, Bronte