My sister, Jenny, and I were reminiscing yesterday about our childhood Christmases. Papa, our grandfather, could very well have been the inspiration for Santa Claus—not in appearance but in heart. Every year, he’d sneak an eye-popping green bill into our pockets and whisper, “For Christmas!” It went without saying that the money was only to be used for the purchase of presents for the family.
In those days, we had no mall or Walmart, so Papa took Jenny and me downtown to the JCPenney store, where, we recall, we always chose pretty much the same gifts: Estee Lauder bath powder for Mimi, our grandmother; Estee Lauder perfume for Mom; and Old Spice aftershave for Dad. Later, we’d accompany a parent to buy Papa a new package of tobacco for his pipe. Although our aromatic Christmas presents were predictable, they were always received with mock surprise and, apparently, delight.
“Do you think they really did want the same thing every year, or they just pretended that they loved them?” I asked Jenny. She didn’t know either. In our family, the graces of giving and receiving were so sincerely and artfully practiced that the gifting was valued higher than the gift.
Speaking of aromatic: Sometimes I wish technology would enable me to embed a “touch-and-sniff” feature to my blog. If so, I’d attach the aroma of freshly-baked ginger cookies cooling on my counter right now. Next to Sugar’s photo, I’d attach another one that would allow you to breathe in the same warm, tangy fragrance that I do when I bury my cold nose in her furry neck. And when the breeze blew in from the southeast, I’d capture (and attach) the sweet, heady aroma of corn silage that neighbors across the river feed to their cows in the winter. But I graciously will not attach a whiff of Mt. Odoriferous, the manure pile composting in the back corral. That’s one gift that might not be appreciated!
“And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” –JOHN 1:16