I spent some time yesterday afternoon searching for a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. Over the years, doing so has become much easier, but it brought back memories of the early days of my marriage. Oh, the torment I put myself through those first few years every time an inlaw birthday rolled around! All of the sudden, I found myself irrevocably connected to perfect strangers. And for me, the way to bridge that gap was through giving the perfect gift.
Gift-giving has always been that for me – a way to bridge gaps and span chasms – especially in my college days, when bits of time with loved ones was interspersed with long periods of homesickness. I consoled myself on holidays away from home by preparing care packages to send home.
Several years ago I finally realized there was no such thing as the perfect gift. Gifts would always be flawed. Either the gift itself would be flawed, of inferior quality or some hidden defect, or the giving would be flawed. It might be a duplicate, or not fit or match right or perhaps it was one of those gifts that would end up on the Goodwill pile someday. What a relief it was when I came to understand I didn’t have to give the perfect gift.
In contrast, how beautiful is the gift God has given us in his Son Jesus Christ! A truly perfect gift – no faults or hidden defects. And the giving was perfect as well – in the fullness of time, all sufficient and yet more than we could ever ask or think. It bridged the greatest chasm of all times, bringing us into eternal relationship with God. Not a once in a lifetime thing we put on the shelf after the newness wears off, but a gift that invites us to partake daily in the life God has given us.