The kid excitement grows to find new boxes on the doorstep at the end of each day. The brown packages sit by the front door, awaiting my attention.
As I closed the door on the early school exodus, I glanced at the stack, making a sighing vow to actually do something about them ... right after I finished repairing the morning rush aftermath ... again ...
My eye caught on a yellow enveloped perched on the pile top. It seemed to have had a somewhat rough journey by it's tattered and corner torn appearance. It's return address from an unexpected aunt.
I could tell from the ripped corner that it wasn't wrapped much further, so I went ahead and dispensed with the now useless envelope.
I held in my hand a simple, yet beautifully created, apron made more beautiful by the crinkled letter accompanying it. A Christmas gift for me.
Tears flooded my eyes as I momentarily stood speechless caressing in my hand, fabric held in another hand so many years ago. My head spun thinking on that beautiful woman whose desires ran simple. To teach, love and serve a family while trying to be like the Savior she adored.
My first thought?
This gift is too priceless.
I folded it, gently setting it on the counter and continued cleaning the toast explosion I'd been grumbling in my head over a moment ago.
Look at me? ... followed my next thought. I'm not even worthy to wear it.
That woman wasn't a complainer. She served with a heart full of love. She loved with a labor unfeigned. And I'm irritated by the cleaning of another's disaster yet again.
I returned to the folded pile and gently set my hand to it, feeling everything she was.
I can't wear this, my heart further ached. I might ruin it, devaluing it's pristine nature.
Why ... I splatter sauces. I drop eggs. I drag myself through muck and mire. Not to mention the noses and tears I'd unintentionally wipe with it's corner!
Mentally, I considered hanging it in a place of honor where it would keep forever, untouched and unmarred by me and my imperfections.
She was with me all morning as I went about my duties. My eyes kept seeking the pile. I thought of her. Devoted to loved ones around, continually teaching, ever bending to clean their messes because she wanted to be like the Savior who cleaned all of hers.
My heart lifted as I dwelt on that gift ... and thoughts turned to another.
From a loving Father who sent a Son to teach her ... and me ... how we wanted to be. Uncomplaining. Endless serving. Loving kindness with tender hands. He who came to clean the messes of others through the promises of His atonement. A life lived to wash away the spills I'd make, to clean my mistakes, to wipe my nose and my tears.
If I took that gift and set it on a shelf? Unused.
Considering myself unworthy of it? Unprofitable.
Preserving it's nature by denying myself the need? Ungrateful.
He didn't come for that.
And I wrapped my Christmas gift around my waist so I would remember today, tomorrow and always, the Greatest Gift of all. Priceless, flawless, and sent just for me.
Magnified and taught once again by a woman who was everything He sent her to be ... flaws and all.
(To the women of my family, thank you for the much needed reminder of who we are through the examples of who you are. And for the jolt back to the true meaning of the season. Merry Christmas and all of my love to you!)