Gifts are certainly at front and center in our minds this week.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been playing very large in all the advertisements on TV and in the newspapers.  It seems that our economy is doing quite well at this moment, and people are trying to buy gifts at record savings.  As for me, I will do the usual…put off buying these gifts until the last possible moment.  I can’t explain why I do this each year…I just do.

            Perhaps my passive gift buying stems from my childhood poverty.  Gifts were not easy to come by for my family.  It was nothing like we see today.  I can’t remember having the “gift everyone must have” such as the Elmo craze one year.  Each year we hear of the new “must have” sensation.  I guess I just never developed such a craving.  Yet, I see children stressing their parents out over the possibility that they will be the only ones at school who didn’t receive that “must have” toy.

            My thinking about gifts tend to center around those small unexpected cards of thanks, or small items left on my desk which mark a special relationship with one of my students or families.  Usually, these little gifts come after a major breakthrough we’ve had in learning.  It is kind of my Olympic moment!  I know these come from the heart and are not just given because it is a set calendar day upon which everyone feels the pressure to give.

            Gifts are something we receive from someone else.  I like to remind my gifted students that their IQ is a gift God and their parents have given to them.  Yet, how they use that gift is very important.  Some people squander such a glorious mind, while others take that mind and create solutions to life’s problems.  I challenge each of them to be like the latter person and use their minds to “gift” us all with new cures for diseases, or with beautiful new melodies or art pieces, or with discoveries of nature and the universe which we have yet to find.

            Over the years, I have seen gifted students I went to school with establish cancer research centers, help with the invention of the electron microscope, and unravel new ideas in quantum physics.  I have seen others establish mission outposts for the poorest individuals on our planet.  What wondrous gifts they have given to us!

            As I consider all these gifts, I cannot put aside the greatest gift of all.  How I am amazed and thankful that God loved us so much that He gave us Jesus to teach us how to love Him and to know how to have eternal life.  That one special gift which gave me salvation has changed my entire life.  So, amid all the commotion of this holiday season, I will treasure this one gift and spend time reflecting upon it and seeking ways I can pass this special gift on to others.       

-        Kay