The Art of Giving

Family saying grace at dinner

Every good and perfect gift is from above…—JAMES 1:17 (NIV)

The keeper of all things family, my mother. She planned the gatherings and celebrations and maintained generations of traditions. But as she aged, it all slipped away.

Lamenting the past, she said, “It would be nice if we could all be together for Hanukkah this year.”

I’d been caring for my mother, assisting with her physical as well as medical needs, and I didn’t have enough energy to volunteer for another job. Gathering my family in one place at one time was like trying to corral a herd of wild horses. Just the thought caused me to break out in a sweat.

She didn’t mention it again, but as I watched her health decline, I knew this might be our last chance. I sighed. It was time for a roundup.

I planned the menu—vegetarian, gluten-free and traditional— for our diverse group, made the calls and sent the texts, over and over again.

A week away, I’d only received a single response.

My phone blew up the night before. All yeses, except for one maybe. The maybe never showed, but the rest of us gathered ’round the table for a family Hanukkah with my mother’s favorite, potato latkes and applesauce.

Afterward, we exchanged gifts, laughter and hugs. Boxes of sweaters, blankets and mugs were stacked all around, but the greatest gift was the happiness in my mother’s eyes. That gift was mine.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for allowing us to gift our loved ones with happiness.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts