When it comes to gift giving, it is often said that it is the thought that counts. This is especially true when a gift is given from the pure heart of a child. A toddler who extends their chubby hand clenching goldfish in a gesture to share their snack with you is one of the most genuine gifts in the world. They have nothing else to offer and they most likely are not aware of when they will get another snack, yet they still want to share with you what they have. While crackers being offered by a small child that have been God knows where may not be appetizing, the heartfelt offering certainly feeds the soul.
A few weeks ago, Margot did not have school due to parent teacher conferences so I brought her to my school for the day. She loves helping in the art room, but grew wary of being gushed over by middle schoolers. Towards the end of the day, she joined the kindergarten class at my school for afternoon recess. Margot has some really good friends that attend my school and enjoyed meeting and playing with the other kindergarteners too. When my last class was over, I walked to our elementary building to meet Margot on the playground. She was busy running around so I visited with the other teachers while the kindergarteners continued to play.
One of my students spotted me and came over to ask me more about Margot. This little girl was curious why she wasn’t at her school today and came to work with me. I explained that her school wasn’t open that day. She then started questioning me more the way five year olds tend to do. Where does she go to school? Why was it closed that day? and then….Why couldn’t her daddy watch her and where was he today? This is always a gut punch. As much as I hate that my girls lost part of their innocence when they lost their dad, I hate for other people’s children to be aware via our lives that bad things happen in this world. Still, kids are smart and more understanding than we often give them credit for. When talking about Taylor with my girls or their friends I try to be direct and keep my answers simple. They are genuinely curious, but don’t need to know any more than what they are asking. I bent down and told this little girl very matter of factly, “Margot’s daddy, my husband, died so he is in heaven now. This kindergartener paused to take in the information, and then took off.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16
I got wrapped back up in conversation with the other teachers and then all of the sudden the little girl was back. She held out her hand and presented me with a little treasure…flowers and grass picked from the playground wrapped up in a shiny piece of foil that looked like a discarded gum or candy wrapper. She placed this gathered bouquet in my hand and told me, “This is for your husband dying.” As I was telling her thank you, a second kindergartner appeared to hand me a similar creation and a few pebbles. She offered a similar sentiment and then they both ran off to go play. I was awestruck that in hearing something sad about my life this child’s first reaction was to immediately want to offer me consolation in the best way she knew how. Not only did she scavenge her available resources to find and create a gift for me, but she also recruited a friend to do the same.
This weekend many of us will celebrate the greatest gift ever given, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If there’s one scripture that sums up the gist of the Christian faith it is John 3:16. The gift that God gave us of his one and only Son is truly incomparable. The best part about this gift is that the sacrifice Jesus made for humankind on the cross is an invitation to share in His inheritance for all of eternity and this invitation is for every single one of us. I hope you will follow the lead of my student and recruit a friend to share in this gift. If you haven’t already invited someone to join you for worship on Easter Sunday, I hope that this serves as a reminder that one of the best things you can offer someone else is an outstretched hand.
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