In 1995, a brother and his sister decided to revive the spirit of Christmases past and exchange gifts. She was doing well financially; he wasn't. She was a prominent accountant at a large corporation, and he, though older than his sister, was still establishing himself in his career.
On Christmas Day, he was simultaneously excited and heartbroken when he opened her present—1996 season tickets to all the San Diego Chargers home games. He was excited because it was a great gift and he was an avid sports fan. Hew was heartbroken because he knew what was in the box she was about to unwrap: two pot holders. He watched the disappointment on her face when she searched under the poy holders to see if she had missed something. She hadn't; the pot holders were it.
Later he caught a private moment with his sister and confessed his embarassment. She handled it graciously. "Considering your income, we gave comparable gifts." she said. "Besides, the way the Chargers have been playing lately, it's not so great a gift anyway." They laughed, but he wanted to make it up to her.
He spent his spare time over the next few weks going through boxes in his parent's attic. On her birth day in mid-January, he presented a scrapbook to her as a birthday present. Inside were pictures of them as children, growing up together. The cover bore the title "The Greatest Christmas Present I Ever Received."
Inside the cover, he attached a note. It said that though the football tickets were great presents, the greatest Christmas present he has ever received is his little sister, whom he loves very much: Happy Birthday!
Our gifts of obedience, service, and worship are small indeed compared to God's gift to us, but it is all we can offer.
-- Jim Wilson