Christmas has always been my very favorite holiday! As a child, I could hardly wait for the mailman to deliver the holiday catalogs so that I could plan my Christmas list for Santa. However, once I grew up, got married, and had children, things changed. I realized that Christmas joy was more in the giving than the receiving.
Then a few years ago, something unusual happened. My husband began dropping hints that he had an extra special surprise for me. Now understand that I am rarely surprised! Of course, there was our first married Christmas when I was 21 years old, and he bought me the gray polyester knit blouse with the ruffles all up the front which would have looked perfect on his grandmother! And then the time when he saw my Christmas list which he thought said I wanted a cappuccino machine. He tried so hard to get just what I wanted, though what I had on the list was actually a CD of relaxing music called “Cappuccino.” Not only was it not right, but I don’t even drink coffee!
So this particular Christmas, things seemed different. He was extraordinarily secretive. He gave just enough hints to make me know that something very big and very exciting was going to be waiting under the tree for me on Christmas morning. I really didn’t know what to expect, but my mind went from expensive jewelry to airline tickets for the trip to Italy that I’d always wanted to take with him.
Christmas morning came and I could never have predicted the gift he had for me. As I tore off the paper, I found a very old, broken, scratched fiddle. It was missing strings and the varnish on the wood was long worn off. The case barely held together and had a strong musty smell from age. As I opened the long-anticipated surprise, I broke down sobbing. This gift was not in any way what I expected or could have imagined. What I thought might be a lovely trip to Italy, turned out to be a lovely trip down memory lane with my father who had passed away a few years earlier.
My dad loved music and instilled that in me as a child. He bought this old fiddle to use when he took lessons. I remembered the squeaking, squawking sounds of the bow moving across the strings as he practiced. I remembered playing music together, him on the fiddle and me on the piano. I mostly remembered his hands that had been severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. When Dad could no longer play his fiddle, he sold it to a man for a much needed $100.
Many years had passed without a thought as to the location of the old fiddle. That Christmas with the help of my sister, the fiddle was found! It was still owned by the man who bought it over thirty years earlier. When my sister asked my husband how much he would pay to get the fiddle back, his response was, “I’ll pay whatever it costs to get it back for Kim!”
That was absolutely the most special Christmas gift I’d ever had. The love and mystery that my husband put into finding and acquiring the gift made me feel especially loved. And while an expensive gift or a once in a lifetime trip would have been appreciated, I found that sometimes the most perfect gifts are not what we would expect, but they are in something that is broken.
I have found a gift in my own brokenness. Not necessarily ones I would have chosen for myself, but gifts that I needed. We can be broken by the weight of our sin, the sin of a loved one, the loss of our health, income, relationships, or a death.
In my own brokenness, I learned to:
- Seek the One who can make me whole (Psalm 147:3, Psalm 34:18).
- Recognize what is truly important in life and what is not (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
- Appreciate my loved ones more (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
- Have humility (Proverbs 11:2, James 4:10).
- Be more gentle and forgiving with others (Colossians 3:13).
- Use my time more wisely (Psalm 90:12, Ephesians 5:16).
- Rely on God more than myself (Proverbs 3:5, 1 Peter 5:7).
- Count my blessings (Philippians 4:19, Ephesians 1:3)
- Long for heaven more than ever before (Revelation 21:4, John 14:2-4).
Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father (James 1:17). It may not come wrapped in the package that I expect, but it will come from the One who knows just what I need.