Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Gifts

They always bewitched me, those three richly robed men who traveled by camel, bringing gifts to the Christ child in a land far away. Such an exotic picture they painted as they moved across the sugar sands of the midnight desert, following that blazing, mysterious star. Even the names of the gifts that they carried were mesmerizing ..... gold, frankincense, myrrh. For a contemplative child who dwelt in a house under tall southern pine trees, this was heady stuff. The significance of their mission was no doubt given short shrift by my imagination, so lost was I in the romance of the colourful scene. However, they were but one piece of the puzzle.
I was to learn more later.
When I was around six, my father .... who always loved Christmas ... whispered to me to come take a ride with him. On tip-toe, I followed him out of the house, clambering into the cold family car. I still remember how freezing it felt that afternoon, the icy car seats, my breath like smoke on the frosty air. We drove for awhile and then Daddy pulled over, reached in his pocket and pulled out a box. It was the watch he had purchased for my mother’s Christmas present. He was so excited he had to share the secret. It was a gorgeous watch to be sure, but I could never tell you exactly what it looked like now. What I do remember clearly was the look on my father’s face. Pure delight. And that was the day that I learned firsthand it is truly more fun to give than receive.

Through the years that have passed, the biggest pleasure of Christmas has never been found in the gifts I have been given, amazing though they have been, but rather in the gifts I have given to others. I squirrel away treasures all during the year, revelling in delicious anticipation for that crystalline moment when I can present them, wrapped up divinely, to those that I love.
The wise men are still my favourite members of the old nativity set that I set out every year, and I think perhaps now I can see a bit clearer the vibrant illustration drawn by their journey.
Christmas really is all about giving. In every gift that is given, a tiny picture of love is painted, an infinitesimal reflection of that ultimate gift.
Perhaps giving is a blessed act.

Perhaps that is why it feels so good.

The Nativity Set at The House of Edward

39 comments:

  1. What a divinely sweet story about your father--and such a lovely illustration too!

    You never come around anymore, and I just want you to know that I miss you. I also understand how challenging it can be when you start getting a great many followers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for helping me get into the Christmas spirit Pamela! Wonderful post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a lovely post.

    My father did the same thing with us, sharing with us the secret of what he had bought my mother for Christmas, and always he was delighted as a child. It made us feel part of the best mission to keep the information to ourselves before it came time to open the presents. When mom opened hers, we always felt like we were a part of it, because we had known all along.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love to spend Christmas with my family. Its much more that just gifts. xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am sad for those people who can't afford to give this year, because I agree with you 1000%. Giving is the best part.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a good idea of yours to make a nativity scene on a book shelf! I am going to to do the same as we lost our wooden stable years ago.

    Thank you for the inspiration :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful, you say it beautifully for me too, this is a part of christmas that i so love, the choosing/making of each gift for each & every person, the anticipation, the giving, its magical. one of the most precious memories i have is from when my girls were small & had both made me a gift, the sweet looks on their faces as they stood either side of me waiting for me to open my present. x

    ReplyDelete
  8. These days I find it so hard to save presents that are just right for certain people until the special day they are meant for. I just surprise them right away, then I have the fun of finding them another perfect gift when the day draws nigh.
    Yes, assuredly giving is much more rewarding than receiving.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A sweet story....and your blog is a present to me dearest..

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hear, hear! When I think back to my childhood I don't particularly remember all the gifts that I received, but the gifts that I was so excited to give instead! AND I have a similar watch story too!

    Keep inspiring us,
    Bella

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely post Pamela. I too love to giving rather than receiving. Even as an adult I get so excited about what I have picked that I find it hard to wait until Christmas day! Leigh

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello P&E,

    Thanks for popping over lately. I'm glad you liked the decor; more will follow! Your illustration is lovely and conveys the mystery of the Magi beautifully. There was great wonder for me in the Christmas Story, which I hope many children are still able to capture.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A lovely story Pamela and I agree completely. It is wonderful to see the joy on someone's face when they first glimpse their gift, especially if it is given with love.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautifully told...I particularly love the story of the watch.

    It is most certainly the giving.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a gorgeous story! Sweet-spirited people who can write are a treasure--thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love giving presents, Pamela. I really try to think of the right present for the right person. I love the wrapping of the presents as well. Some of my friends don't understand it but, I think that you have to enjoy it and there are so many people, nowadays, that seem to find it all a burden. ....and , presents don't have to be expensive. You just need to think about it and a lot of people can't be bothered, which is a shame. Christmas has always been wonderful in our family and, as a child, it was truly magical. I loved your post and the story of your father. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  17. Delightful post Pamela and a delightful memory to hold on to.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful story and sentiment.

    Not such fond memories of the Three Kings, however, as due to our household being in possession of a purple velvet cape, I was condemned to being Melchior is every school nativity. I could have been a contender! (for Mary).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Such a sweet tribute to the joy your dad instilled in you. And yes, the feelings that giving a precious gift from the heart gives, are one thousand times better than the pleasures of receiving.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a wonderful story and sharing moment. I am sure the delight on your father's face is to blame for your delight in surprising those you care for.

    This post warms the heart :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. you know...i think it is..and it does feel so good. a tender story. smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love your blog! Please stop by and take a look at mine, give me some ideas? I agree with the thoughts on Christmas and giving, so much better to give, puts a smile in your heart and on your face, just like you did mine.


    http://wwwbeenblogged.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  23. Such a lovely tale, Pamela. I love how you love the holidays. It makes my heart sing.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Another lovely, descriptive post, Pamela. I love the wise men, too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Pamela, I love stories about fathers and daughters, if you are fortunate enough to have that- the gift of all gifts. We are lucky. I just started working on a post about the same topic-adding a bit about accepting gifts too. Thank you for this post-I could not agree more. GT

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh Pamela...your post always make my heart swell! This was so beautiful! Hubby kids me and Melanie because it's SOOOO hard to wait for Christmas to GIVE our gifts! It's because giving is the best part and it's hard to "put it off"! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. A beautiful post and exquisitly written as always. I do like all the covers on your favourite books in the previous post.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I was so inspired by your post.

    This is the time I start thinking of my Mamma (THE DUTCHESS) and Daddy. It is a hard time for me this year.
    I have to get a new painting started, or some projects..
    I have always been the giver.
    It brings joy.

    ReplyDelete
  29. what a beautiful way of looking at it...i never thought about the three wise guys (as husband refers to them) that way before. but i will now. and i'm having a lot of fun making gifts this year, so i know what you mean.

    thank you for the shift in perspective, i needed that.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes, camels are bewitching! I loved how remembered your father’s expression more than the gift itself. You must have been a very perceptive and empathetic child.

    As a child I liked getting gifts, but as an adult I agree with you that the best gifts are the ones we give. My favorite gift to give is a book. It’s an art matching a reader with the right book.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful, all of it. The words, the decorations, the gifts.
    Like you, I find the most pleasure in giving, especially something from the heart.

    ReplyDelete
  32. what a lovely story. I agree it's all about giving- and wrapping up parcels thinking about the delight on people's faces. The presents don't have to be big- I'm always so happy with just a box of chocolates. I like the wise men too- their gifts are just the kinds of things I like to receive ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I came here this evening to soothe my anxious soul - too much to do, too late time. I knew that some how, some way, I would find what I was looking for here...and I did. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Do you ever feel as if blogging opens up areas of the mind that have been closed in the dark for decades? I often sense this when writing a post, and I sense this about your posts too.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yes, "a tiny picture of love"--that is just what giving is all about. Thank you for this beautiful story, Pamela!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your father gave you a wonderful gift. A legacy...

    ReplyDelete
  36. your father sounds exactly like Ben. He has already taken Elisabeth to show her what he bought me for Christmas!!!!! awwww.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Very touching that you caught your father's excitement about giving:) Once we discover the joy of giving treasures!

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!