by Brunhilde Luken

When we think about gifts, many of us think about something tangible, but the most precious gifts are not the ones we can see or hold in our hands.

We all received many gifts from our Lord, we just have to recognize our gifts. Gifts that we received to give. In Matthew 7:11 “Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”.

My brother-in-law in Germany passed away just recently. While he was very ill, not being able to do anything for himself, I spoke with my sister almost every day. If I did not call her, she would call me, even if it was 1:00 AM in Germany. Many times she informed me how much it helps her to be able to share his and her suffering with me. I did not think about this much except that I was sorry with her. I suppose this was also a gift, a gift of sharing in her and his sorrow. A gift of listening to her to brighten her day just a bit.

To me it is sad when somebody says, “oh, I don’t have any gifts”. We all have special gifts, just a little hello, a friendly smile at the grocery store or to a neighbor, picking up a newspaper that ended up too close to the street and placing it near the house, reaching a helping hand and so many more. Living in the Light of the Lord, will help us find our gifts, gifts we can freely share and brighten somebody’s day. In Romans 12:6 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them in faith”.

I like to share a story about one of my best Christmases about eight years ago.

We were a group of artists painting together one morning when I turned to my friend and said: “somehow my art is not flowing today”. She replied: “why don’t you paint one of your fast ones today.” I knew from past experiences that when I am really inspired, my art flows easily. I said, “You are right.” Immediately I felt very inspired. When I paint I feel especially the presence of our Lord. I painted the head of a girl. I looked at my painting and named it “The Mystery Girl.”

The following year I took part in an art show with several artists. On one of the last days of the show a woman bought several of my paintings. Then she saw in the corner of my area the painting “The Mystery Girl.” She was fascinated by the painting and told me this would be a Christmas gift for her daughter. She asked if I could have it framed by Christmas. I told her it could be done. Before Christmas I called her to let her know that the painting, now beautifully framed, was ready to be picked up. She was excited but informed me she could not pick it up now because school was out and her children were home. I said, “Oh, just bring them, I love children!” She then informed me that the painting she wanted to buy, the one I just had framed for her, was for her daughter who was severely handicapped. I asked her the name of her daughter and she said, “It is Madison Rose.” “Madison Rose, what a mysterious name,” I thought. And immediately I knew that the painting belonged to Madison Rose. By then we had agreed on a price. I can still hear her say the name, Madison Rose, the mystery of our Lord. I immediately called her back asking her to please accept the painting as a gift from me,  that the painting belonged to Madison Rose. I knew that this was a gift the Lord gave her through me.

I shipped the painting to her and received a wonderful thank you note and several photos of Madison Rose. Her mother told me when Madison Rose saw the painting on the wall opposite her bed, she had the biggest smile. I was so thankful, what a gift the Lord gave me. I was able to give my gift of love, and I received such a big gift back. It was such a wonderful Christmas. I hold her photos dearly in my heart.

When God calls us to Himself, He reaches out for us and draws us closer to him.

Psalm 25:4,5, “Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths, Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on you I wait all the day”.


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