Heart of the Home
Christmas Gifts: Readers share stories of favorite gifts.
Parents delighted in child's love of doll
When I was 10 years old, I was young enough to wish Santa Claus would come to our house, but old enough to know he wouldn't. On Christmas Eve, as I burrowed under thick comforters and placed my feet on a towel-wrapped brick hot from the oven, my mind was fixed on the next morning.
I knew Christmas wasn't about Santa, but the celebration of God's gift, the Savior. Unlike Santa, Jesus is real. A few months earlier, I had given my heart to Him. If Baby Jesus had been born in our barn that winter night, I'd have given Him my bed and my brick to warm His tiny feet.
I didn't have money to buy Christmas gifts for Mother and Daddy. If only Santa had been real, I would have asked him to bring some wonderful gifts for my parents.
I had been begging for a doll I had seen in the Sears catalog, but I knew my parents couldn't afford it. This was during the Great Depression, and they could hardly afford food, shoes and school supplies for us children.
At dawn, we girls dressed by the potbellied stove. After breakfast and the chores were done, we hurried to where our stockings were hung. Each stocking was full of candy and nuts - and even an orange.
There were also packages - including one with my name on it. I tore open the wrapping and uncovered a small wooden suitcase with a hinged lid and fastener. I opened the lid and gasped. There in the box lay a beautiful doll with hair, movable arms and legs, and a lovely painted face. I never dared to dream I would own such a doll. I danced for joy.
Seventy years later, that moment is still precious because I know I gave my parents a gift as well - my delight and speechless gratitude for their gift of love.
Missionary life was truly gift from God
During my lifetime, I have received many wonderful and precious gifts - both tangible and spiritual.
Early in my life, I somehow knew I would marry a preacher and go to Africa. God must have planted that desire deep in my mind and heart. Eventually, I married a preacher, and we went to Africa as missionaries. I thank God for giving me a godly, loving husband and such a fulfilling and exciting life. This is the greatest gift I've ever received - and it was from God.
In 1988, we were home on furlough for Christmas. I was surprised by the gift my mother gave me: a doll with dark, curly hair that looked like me. She had dressed it in a wedding gown just like the one I'd worn. In fact, it was made from my gown, and that, too, was a wonderful gift.
Gifts brightened family's holiday
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