Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Real Gift

Things as gifts are too often apologies for gifts. A true gift is a gift of ourselves and things make a poor substitute. That is not to say that gifts given as remembrances at Christmas, birthdays and other anniversaries are not meaningful, but the presence of the giver has greater worth.

Two of our daughters live a distance away from us, and they send us cards on our birthdays with wonderful and welcome sentiments, but it is the phone call, the desire to speak with us, to be with us for a while, that we appreciate most.

The gift as a substitute for love is probably seen at its most destructive in the relationship between parents and children. The absent father, whose work precludes sufficient time with his children, but showers them with gifts and money, may well leave his children empty and rebellious. Too often they become the “spoiled brats” that plague our society to the astonishment of their parents who “gave them everything they wanted.” Everything, that is, except a gift of themselves—time with their children.

The real gift is time: time to listen or play, time to give advice, rejoice in accomplishment or complete a task together, time just to “hang out” and simply be together. Our time is a real gift because it is limited and thus our most precious commodity. The minutes or hours we spend with and for another is time we will never have again and cannot be replaced.

The years that our children are with us, difficult and interminable though they may seem at the time, eventually pass all too quickly, and it is the time we failed to be with them that may haunt us the most.

Blog excerpted from Happy Together:Daily Insights for Families from Scripture, by Ann and Bryan Norford. 
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