Many times, it is the elaborate and flashy toys that kids dream of for Christmas.  Most times, it is the simple gifts that make the most impact.

The winter 1990, our family had just relocated so Dad could find a job.  My parents had never expected to move; they had envisioned grandchildren visiting their dream home decades in the future.  But God had other plans.

We packed everything up and moved in a travel trailer while searching high and low for a house.  And then God gave us a home just in time for Christmas.  It was old and dirty.  It had mice in the basement and dead spiders upstairs.  It had green carpet in every room and green paint on every wall (and not the good kind of green paint either).  But it was perfect.  It a two story farmhouse in the country with a barn and woods to explore out back.  We loved it.

Our first morning to wake up in this new house of ours was on my birthday, December 21.  We had dragged mattresses out of storage and laid them on the floor.  We had set up a tiny one foot Christmas tree.  To Mom and Dad, it probably was discouraging starting over mid-life with practically nothing when they had once had much.  But they did not pass along a sense of disappointment; they gave us a sense of excitement of what God had given us and a sense of anticipation of what was to come.

That morning, we celebrated our Christmas before traveling out West to see my Grandparents.  It was a Christmas of simple gifts, but I didn’t know that.  It was those simple gifts that gave so much pleasure and taught me a lesson later in life.

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You see, our family had purchased this old farmhouse at an auction.  Also at the auction, my parents bought me an old typewriter from probably the 1930’s or ’40’s.  Through the years, I played with that old typewriter many times, pretending to be a secretary – typing until that little bell dinged at the end of each line.  I loved that old typewriter.

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Just a couple months ago, I dug that simple gift given to me twenty-three years ago out of the closet.  It now sits on a shelf in our library.  Every time I see it, it reminds me of the years when times were hard for my parents, but not for us because of their attitude.  It reminds me that even when life may knock you down, God will pick you back up.  It reminds me that it’s not always the flashyness of a gift that’s important, for sometimes it’s the simpleness of a gift that lasts.

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