Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. – James 1:17 (CEB)
My mother paints rocks she finds on the beach near her home, decorating them with landscapes, lighthouses, hearts, and flowers. Once she has a few ready, she’ll take them back to the beach and give them away, leaving them on fenceposts and car door handles, tossing them on beach towels and into people’s bags. She doesn’t know who receives the rocks, and the recipient doesn’t know who gave it to them. There’s no expectation of reciprocity, nothing transactional. My mom gets to share her art, and someone gets a random gift.
In a way, this is a perfect gift. But it’s harder to get a gift for someone you know.
Finding the perfect gift can be a real struggle. Coming up with the right thing, how much to spend, will they like it? We want to give the perfect gift.
Receiving gifts can be just as fraught. Expectations, not wanting people to spend money on us, disappointment. We want to receive the perfect gift.
But if every truly good and perfect gift comes from God above, then maybe we give from the Spirit of God that is within: love, service, patience, forgiveness, compassion, accompaniment, the present of presence. These gifts will always be in stock, always in fashion, free shipping, the perfect size, and personal.
These perfect gifts still have a cost: giving of ourselves and our time, setting aside fear of scarcity or rejection, vulnerability, courage, effort, and intention.
Yes, there is a cost. But these perfect gifts are priceless.
Holy One, thank you for these perfect gifts. Compel us to share them generously and freely, and to humbly accept these gifts when given in return. Amen.