Christmas Treasure

I almost missed God's blessing.

Pamela Caldwell

"Lord, show me what I can give Jessica for Christmas." This was my prayer as the holiday approached. I knew it would take all my creative energy to find the right gift. Three-year-old Jessica was the handicapped daughter of my good friends Mark and Gail.

Wanting to share Christmas with so many family members and friends made it necessary to budget. I was determined, though, to get an especially nice gift for Jessica, something that could meet her special needs. I knew it might be expensive.

The weeks before Christmas found my mind blank. If Jessica could see, hear, and walk, my choices would be unlimited. But with her various handicaps, regular gift ideas looked shallow.

Knowing how restless Jessica often became, I finally decided on a music box. Maybe the sound vibrations would be a lullaby for her when she was upset. I began my search.

Music boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Looking from store to store convinced me to pray more specifically: "Show me where to find Jessica's music box, Lord."

As I prayed, I pictured the little fuzzy lamb my son had received ten years before. Its music box played "Jesus Loves Me." As I pondered this long-forgotten toy, now packed away in the attic, a small voice inside me said, "Give it to Jessica." My reaction to this thought was overwhelming. "No!" I couldn't give her a used toy. She might not know the difference, but her mother would. I kept searching the stores.

Days passed. It was Christmas Eve. We would be at church in a few hours exchanging gifts with our friends. "Lord, I don't want to give that toy to this sweet child of Yours. How can I explain a used gift to Gail?"

In desperation I found the lamb. It was clean, slightly matted and needing a new ribbon. But the music box played loudly and clearly. With the lamb's wool brushed and a new pink bow around the neck, it was ready for a box and Christmas paper.

That evening I quickly exchanged gifts with Mark and Gail, leaving no time for unwrapping. I certainly didn't want to be around when the lamb was exposed.

That Saturday after Christmas I was worried. My husband and I were going to dinner at Mark and Gail's, and I was still embarrassed about the used gift.

After dinner Gail invited me up­stairs to peek in on Jessica. She was lying peacefully in her crib. On her pillow was the lamb I had given to her. Then I noticed an identical lamb on the shelf. I gasped. Not only was it a used gift but a duplicate gift.

Defending the weeks before Christmas and the desperation I had felt on Christmas Eve, I explained about not being able to find a suitable music box, and so I had pulled the lamb out of the attic. I apologized.

"No, no, you don't understand," Gail replied. "You see, Jessica has had this other lamb since birth. Sometimes it was the only thing that helped her sleep. But the music box is broken, and I couldn't find a replacement."

My heart leaped. I couldn't believe my ears. The Father knew all along. He knew what would be the most treasured gift to Jessica.

As I lay awake that night, I was awed at the magnificence of our all-knowing God. Because of my lack of faith and my pride, I almost missed this blessing. God's faithfulness to His little child was evident. His graciousness to a grown, rebellious daughter was clear. Surely this was a blessed Christmas treasure.