Last night our Bible Study group went out to dinner to celebrate Christmas with yummy food that we did not have to cook. A few weeks before, we’d picked “Secret Sisters”, so we could buy a specific, meaningful present for one person (instead of little presents for 10 people), and we exchanged our gifts at dinner last night.
My friend Jessica is notorious for being an awesome gift giver. Everyone hopes she picks their name! And it’s true. Last night, she not only brought her secret sister gift, but also a little gift for everyone else. (Technically this is cheating, but we all love our gifts so much we don’t even care.) 😉
So literally seconds after I told my friend Mary, who is new-ish to our group, that Jessica is the best and everyone wants her gift, Jess pulled out this big fluffy bag, and gave it to ME!!! MIRACLE OF ALL MIRACLES!!!
I was so excited, and opened it to find a cozy blanket, new book, and a beautiful necklace. And then, at the bottom of the bag, I pulled out one more gift. A set of stainless steel measuring spoons in the shape of hearts.
I almost cried right then and there.
Let’s back up about 10 years or so. The summer I graduated college, two of my closest friends got married. And being my close friends, my mom and I were both invited to their weddings. Like my friend Jessica, my mom was also notoriously good at giving gifts. So when my friends started getting married, she found the perfect, beautiful keepsake gift for each of them.
A set of silver measuring spoons in the shape of hearts. Each one had a cute little “measurement” on it. “A pinch of patience.” “A heaping of love.” Things like that.
At the time, I thought they were so special and beautiful, and I couldn’t wait until I got married when my mom would give me my own set.
Except that my mom died before I ever met Jon. She didn’t get to come to my wedding shower, or my wedding. There were no special gifts from mother to daughter on my wedding day, no words of wisdom or tears of joy. And while I would have traded a thousand spoons just to have her there, the spoons have always been, to me, a symbol of what I lost, when I lost her.
I have never told anyone about the spoons. I never wanted to buy them for myself, because that felt like trying to fill a hole that couldn’t be filled. So, I just held that memory close to my heart and figured it would be one of those things that was always missing.
Except that yesterday, I pulled that set of silver measuring spoons out of a colorful Christmas bag, from a sweet friend who had no idea. (Believe me. I may have yelled across the table, “Did you KNOW?! How did you know?!” And she totally didn’t.)
It’s a little thing, a set of measuring spoons, but it meant so very much to me. The only one who ever could have known how I felt about those spoons was the Lord. And though the present was from Jessica (who still reigns as the best gift giver, amen?), pulling that little set of measuring spoons out of the bag felt a lot like God reminding me that He never forgets. That He knows the sorrows and the desires of our hearts, and He is the Father of every good and perfect gift.
I have been missing my mom so much this week, clinging to old recipes and traditions and grasping for some sense of her here. She has been gone for almost nine years and the ache doesn’t go away. Especially at this time of year, when the joy and the pain are all intertwined. But still, our God is GOOD, and He sent the most amazing gift of all – His only Son, to redeem us and make us His. Even in the midst of pain, my friends, we have been given a beautiful, undeniable gift.
So, Merry Christmas. May we all be grateful for Jesus and family and measuring spoons. 🙂
(And for those of you wondering, these are the measuring spoons I’m talking about!)
What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever gotten?
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