So many gifts we receive come unwrapped. These gifts can come to us in all sorts of forms. Some unwrapped gifts come as experiences, loving words or gestures. Some unwrapped gifts are so subtle you can almost miss them. Though there is never a bow, a name tag or bright wrapping paper to an unwrapped gift, they are gifts nonetheless.

Some of my most precious gifts come unwrapped. Months ago, I told our church the story of my then 2 ½ year old granddaughter Mia. She is the spunky one of our family and is always getting into mischief. Though I have cleaned up many messes Mia has made, I love her with all my heart as I do all my grandchildren.

One day I was in my home office studying while Roi Lene was babysitting Mia. Suddenly, right in the middle of a very creative moment as I was writing my message, Mia slammed into my office with a shrill and excited cry. “Grandpa, come with me, I want to show you something”. “Oh, honey, Grandpa is busy right now and I don’t have time to go with you”, I said, rejecting her invitation. Mia was not to be put off. “Please Grandpa, I want to show you something!”

She grabbed my fingers from my computer and began to pull me out of my chair. I resisted for a moment and then finally groaned as I got up and was pulled into our family room by this tiny but determined little girl.

She had put two pillows on the floor, one on top of the other and she was directing me to lay down. I protested, “Mia, I don’t have time to lay here in our family room, I have to work.” “Come on Grandpa,” Mia pleaded, “Just lay down here.” I got down on my hands and knees and then finally sprawled out on the floor with my head on the pillows. Though I didn’t know what Mia was up to, I was predicting her wanting me to be a horse to ride or a trampoline to jump on.

Much to my surprise, she laid down beside me with her nose just an inch from mine. She looked into my eyes with this sweet little cherub’s voice began to sing “You are my shun shine, my only shun shine, you make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my Shun Shine away.”

She smiled at me as I could feel the warm tears welling up in my eyes. “Thank you Mia,” I choked out the best that I could. She hugged me and then said “OK Grandpa, you can go back to work.”

Mia had given me an unwrapped gift. I was so close to missing this beautiful gift. The reason I nearly missed it was that it came to me unwrapped. No bow, no beautiful wrapping paper. And it’s funny how Mia spent no money on this gift. She had no way to go shopping. Mia doesn’t have cash or a credit card. She just had a desire to express love. I have received many beautiful gifts in my life-time but only a few are etched in my memory. This is one of them.

As we move into these Holy Days and reflect on the magnificent gift God gave the world by sending His Son, be aware of unwrapped gifts. And while you’re at it, give a few away yourself. You don’t need a hefty bank account or a large credit line. All you need is a desire to express love.