Christmas exploded with a flurry of gifts, shiny paper, bows and giggles. Children tore into toys with enthusiasm matching the enjoyment of parents and grandparents together. Amidst the Christmas chaos, I found a girl hovering at my shoulder with a large wrapped gift.
"Here's my present for you Mommy."
Bright blue eyes peered over my shoulder as I gently tore the paper. "Be careful Mom. It's breakable."
The box filled with tissue paper was light and I searched through the tissue to find the gift. Little hands reached in to help me unwrap a heart shaped peice of porcelain.
"It's a jewelry box Mom. I picked it out just for you." Her eyes lit up with pleasure as I hugged her with thanksgiving.
Tears pricked my eyes in appreciation for the greatest gift I received this Christmas - pure love and the joy of giving.
This year marked the beginning of a new tradition for this little four year old girl: purchasing her own gifts for family members with the help of a special workshop and some "elves." With only a few dollars in her pocket she searched through the store for something to please her mother.
Every day since the gift was revealed, she has asked me, "Where is your special heart Mom?"
"Are you using your jewelry box today Mom? Maybe when you get more jewelry you can put it in there."
"Where did you put that gift I gave you Mom? Are you using it? I picked it out just for you."
Certainly she has enjoyed her toys, dolls and games this Christmas, but her heart has shown that the gift of giving has impressed her more than anything.
I told her that I would treasure that little jewelry box and keep it on my dresser for a very long time (perhaps until I can pass it on to her as an adult). It was the best Christmas gift I have recieved in a long time - nothing compares to the look on her face or the joy in her eyes.