As I sit in my office, surrounded by my clown collection, one in particular continues to charm me. It is a colorful clown mouse playing a red trumpet with a 16th note flowing from it, a gift from my daughter.
The clown gift prompted me to ask my wife what memorable gift she had given me. After a brief recollection, she said, “The oil painting I gave you in 1959.” We lived in Massachusetts and often visited Gloucester. As we toured one of the artist’s studios, I fell in love with the painting immediately. Majorie E.G. Swinson’s 20 by 24 inch “Early Morning Playmates,” seagulls flying and perching on pillars in a misty foggy morning with a faint shadow of a fishing boat in the distance. It found its home over our piano and has been there ever since. Two of our children are “fighting” over ownership rights.
Then I asked her for the most memorable gift I had given her. Without hesitating, she said, “The sterling silver friendship ring you gave me after we had dated 6 weeks.” Years later on the Navy Pier in Chicago, she washed her hands in the ladies’ room and found it missing. She, along with other women, feeling her loss, searched waste baskets for two hours. She has never gotten over the loss. I replaced it with one similar but it was never the same. “Oh, how I treasured that ring.”
Born to a sharecropper, our family did not buy gifts for one another. But when I was almost 13 years old, things changed. One Sunday morning in the little Baptist church in Oran, Missouri, I was offered the greatest gift of all, to be one of God’s treasured possessions” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
And in my lifetime my benevolent heavenly Father continues to open his gift chest and shower me with treasures.
In times of despair, hope gift, in times of disappointment, encouragement, in times of sorrow, comfort, in times of loneliness, his abiding presence, in times of doubt, assurance, and in times of loss, replacement gift of himself. I check my list frequently. Especially in times when God seems high in the clouds with his fingers in his ears.
As we review our gift collection, we find that the reality of the gospel song “Count Your Blessings” helps us sing loudly and more joyfully. And along with the song, the Apostle James reminds us, that “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (1:17).
And those intangible gifts far exceed any ring or painting, for each has an eternal gift card attached.
Have you thumbed through your gift collection today?