The Marble

Our bedroom looks like the gift wrapping department at a major retail store. Ribbons, bows and paper cover every available surface. Unused boxes sit in the corner, open and waiting to be filled with a thoughtful gift. Scraps of paper, too small for use on a medium sized gift, but too large to be thrown away, litter the floor. The kids are constantly trying to find ways to sneak into the ‘forbidden zone’ in hopes of catching a glimpse of an unwrapped toy.

The living room shows the fruits of this gift-wrapping chaos. Beneath the tree, neatly packaged and decorated with bows of green, red, silver, and gold, are the presents. Some small, some large, and various ones in between. Since most of the wrapping goes on after bedtime, the kids have been greeted several mornings with another gift or two under the tree. Last night, as I went to place the latest stash beneath the boughs I saw a wadded up piece of newspaper. I picked it up thinking it must be something the cats have been playing with. But inside I could feel something hard. I slowly unwrapped it to discover a marble.

Now I must pause to tell you the significance of this marble. This was not just any marble. This was Savannah’s marble. This particular marble had been residing in the top drawer of Savannah’s dresser for several months. The top drawer was a place of honor. It was a place of distinction. Inside the top drawer Savannah’s favorite trinkets and toys resided in relative safety from curious sisters and clumsy little fingers. And it was from within this top drawer, that the marble had been taken from it’s place of honor to be wrapped in a piece of torn newsprint, to be placed beneath a tree.

I went to Savannah the next day to ask why she placed her beloved marble under the tree. Her answer was reflective of the heart that is sometimes hidden by her spunky attitude, “I wanted to give you something for Christmas, but I didn’t have any money, so I gave you my favorite thing.”

The story is so familiar isn’t it? God, who has no use for money, went into his ‘top drawer’ to pick out His most valuable possession to give to us. This gift did not come wrapped in the fanciest, most colorful of garments, adorned with gold and silver, but it was wrapped in the swaddling cloths of a poor Palestinian maiden. Nor was it put in a place of honor. In fact, this gift would not be placed under a tree, but upon one. And through the whole story we hear God revealing His heart to us, “I wanted to give you something, so I gave you my favorite thing; I gave you my Son.”

As I hugged Savannah, I couldn’t help but smile because with her child-like heart she showed me once again, what Christmas is all about.

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