As I sit here writing this article, waiting for our lunch to cook, I find myself thinking about Christmas gifts, and I was wondering what Jesus would buy his family.
Giving at Christmas time is fraught with difficulties – our desire to please is so strong. In my family, we make lists and family members purchase gifts from the list, so at least people get what they want or even need. This means you have a reasonable chance of giving something that will be appreciated at last because it was desired. But somehow, for me the giver, I have never found it terribly satisfying. I really prefer to seek out and find something that I feel they would love. It gets a little harder when they are thousands of miles away, but even with internet shopping such pleasures are possible.
When I was a child aged 7, I received a doll, dressed in a wedding dress in the style of the latest royal family member to have married, and a whole wardrobe of clothes for her. My mother had sewn the clothes from scraps from the local dressmakers store whilst I was at school, and in the evenings, and my father had made her bed and wardrobe. I loved this doll and her clothes as much for the fun of changing her clothes as I did because I could see how much love and time went into them.
In a similar way, I love the jacket my husband made me for last Christmas to wear when we go play in the snow with a wood stove – to keep the wind out and to keep my clothes free from soot. I even loved the sleeves that were just a little short (since lengthened) – the effort and love that had gone into the gift were what I got most out of it, and what I hope my husband got out of making it. And yes, I have worn it on many a trip out into the woods.
The value of the gift is not what counts – I have given my mother gifts found in thrift stores, which seem filled with treasures sometimes. She collects a certain kind of ornament that others seem to discard, and which are sold for a few cents, but make her face light up. And a few years ago I started making jewellery – a few cents for the findings, a few more for a pretty box, and a couple of hours work to create something pretty with my own hands.
So what would Jesus buy? Well, I don’t think he would have bought his mother and father anything. As a carpenter’s son, I think he would have made something his mother needed like a new wooden spoon to stir food with, or a new handle for a broom. And for his father, perhaps he would have given his time in the workshop or made him a wood-crafting tool he needed. Whatever he did give, he would have given with love in his heart, and that is all that is ever needed.