On this 15th day of Advent, Norman Vincent Peale asks what, in this season of gift-giving, we should all be giving to God...
Day 15: The Perfect Gift
We all know the story of Mrs. McGillicudhy’s cow that always ways gave such fine, creamy milk—and then kicked it over. That little Irish folklore has become commonplace to describe people who do and say and give the nicest things and then spoil it all by one mean act.
We all know, too, the Indian-giver. And we all know the historical meaning behind the phrase: “I fear the Greeks, even when bringing gifts.” We know enough too from sad, sad experiences, that we should never look a gift horse in the mouth.
This is the season of gifts and giving.
This is the festival of the birthday of the Holy and Perfect Gift, of the Way of Life and the way to live, brought to us all by the most generous Giver that ever lived—Christ Jesus.
To him as a Child in the Manger, “were brought the gifts of Kings”—the three Wise Men came from far places to pay homage and leave their tokens of esteem.
And it is these Wise Men that we should imitate going as far as we can to give God the best we have to offer, going in person and laying it at His feet.
I thought to myself as I went out shopping for my children the other day: “And what shall I give this year to Jesus? My writing? My books? My efforts to preach His Word? Yes…more than ever now, when it is so sorely needed. But what special?”
And it came to me that perhaps what He wanted most was my prayers. He wants too—because He said so—for me to root out evil in myself and to help others live up to the Good that is in them. He wants me to walk His Path and help others who have not found it, or who have lost it, or who falter and grow weary.
Simple things? Difficult things? Yes…but these are the Gifts I promise myself to make to my Creator…this Christmas and every day—at least once a day—from now ‘til next Christmas.
Perhaps you’d like to, too.
This story first appeared in the December 1950 edition of Guideposts.