When I had my story ministry (Aunt Shirley Story Ministry), I wrote a Christmas story about a tangible gift that was associated to an intangible gift. It was titled A Treasured Gift.
The story opens with an elderly lady, recently widowed, named Sara who is sitting alone in her living room on Christmas Eve. Her thoughts drift back to her childhood. On the day Sara’s mother died, Aunt Beth gave an old treasured doll named Cindy to her. Aunt Beth told Sara that whenever she felt lonely to just hug Cindy. The doll brought comfort to Sara. She had no siblings and her father often worked long hours. Sara knew there wasn’t anything magical about the doll but none-the-less it was special; comforting. It was special because the treasured toy had been handed down with love from Aunt Beth, and since Aunt Beth lived far away she gave the best gift she could to provide comfort and hope for Sara. Sara found comfort in hugging Cindy. The doll became Sara’s treasured toy, her best friend, the sister she never had, and her mother whom she missed very much. That Christmas Eve as Sara sat alone reminiscing she felt very lonely and wished she still had Cindy. Her thoughts drifted back to her childhood, and the day she lost her treasured gift and a treasured friendship.
When Sara’s best friend, Maria, fell ill and was hospitalized Sara wanted to give her a gift. But limited finances prevented her from making a purchase. After much thought and searching her bedroom, she followed her father’s advice; to give the best gift she could offer just as Jesus had given his best out of love. Reluctantly she gave Cindy to Maria. It turned out not to be such a big sacrifice because when Maria got well, they both played with Cindy. They had great fun until the day Maria followed Sara’s example and gave the treasured gift to comfort a friend who was seriously ill. Sara was furious and declared they were no longer friends. “I never want to see you again!”
Many years had passed since that sad day. The evening shadows lengthened and the living room darkened. Suddenly there was a knock at the front door. What a surprise greeted Sara. On the front steps was Maria. Sara tightly hugged Maria. “Oh, Maria! How I have missed you! Please forgive me!”
They spent a delightful evening chatting and learning about each other’s lives. There was a shopping bag next to Maria’s chair. Sara asked if she’d been doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Maria replied, “No. But I do have a gift for you. It is old now but still a treasured gift.” When Sara opened the bag, she received another surprise. In the bag was Cindy. Maria explained that a year ago her friend passed away to whom she had given the doll when she had been seriously ill in her childhood. Her friend’s husband returned Cindy as a remembrance of their friendship. When Maria heard about Sara’s husband passing away, she decided it was time to return the doll to Sara for she was in need of comfort. “I wanted to give you my best.” said Maria. Tears trickled down Sara cheeks. She treasured the doll but more than that, she treasured Maria’s friendship. Now she clearly understood what Aunt Beth had told her when she presented the doll to her many years ago. God willingly gave us His best with love – His only Son, Jesus who died in our place for our sins. And Jesus willingly became that gift so that we could have eternal life. What a treasured gift!