The most valuable gifts I’ve been given simply integrated into my being like foam forms on a root beer float, bubbling from within as the glass is filled. The treasures didn’t come in a glitzy box with a shiny bow on top—didn’t come in a box or a physical package at all. They were wrapped in a cloak of invisibility, yet the effect of their presence was so intense, they were like beacons in the dead of night.
Mistletoe and ho ho ho. I am ready for the season of gift-giving—for the rush—for the juggling of family get-togethers—for the checking of lists that cross-pollinate between who bought what and what items are still pending to be purchased and for the holiday tunes that get stuck in my head because they’re buzzing from every store in town. No matter what gift you are hunting or what one you are wanting, the best gifts are contained with the industrial strength ribbon of love.
One of the best gifts a friend of mine received was when she was awakened in the night by an angel bending over her bed. The angelic form seemed to be holding something in its hands and extending it toward my friend who sat up, mesmerized. For several weeks after this encounter, she received messages of hope. The word, “Hope” showed up in many forms from words from strangers to signs in stores and symbols in her daily routine.
Not everyone gets the vision of a heavenly being delivering a gift like hope, but she did. The delivery of this gift made it no more special than the hope others unwrapped in their unique packages—hers was simply wrapped differently. It was wrapped in a way that spoke to her—in a way that inspired rather than frightened her.
Someone else may have seen that angel and had a heart attack or went bonafide crazy, but the God who created invisible gifts knows how to best deliver them. We get the gift we need in a form most conducive to our happiness.
Wisdom from life experiences tops my list of favorite gifts. For each tearful struggle, I earned an ounce of insight. For each contented smile from a hurting child I consoled, I added a drop of joy into my soul. For each strained friendship and family connection I mended, I felt peace flowing into my elixir—the elixir whose recipe the Infinite allows me to develop.
I am responsible for the contents of my cup. If it runs over with joy, that’s because I spread cheer through hardship. If it runs over with pain, I have failed to be grateful for my challenges that create change.
Throughout the years, the contents of my cup have been bitter and sweet and everything in between. Too much honey and the mellow taste is ruined. Too much vinegar and it burns a hole in the esophagus. Just when I think I have the perfect recipe, the manufacturer changes the ingredients, or my taste buds react differently.
The gift in this particular cup is yours to both ask for and maintain. People and situations are in constant flux. We have to adapt our responses in order to learn our lessons and get the gifts they offer. One of my lessons came in the form of a fear of public speaking. When asked to speak in the smallest of crowds, my stomach would churn and I’d shake.
It wasn’t until I realized that the fear had a gift for me that I attempted to learn the lesson of self-confidence. I began volunteering to read at writer’s events and to give presentations on a variety of topics. As I spoke and taught every chance I could in front of an audience, I learned more about myself and was given the gift of self-confidence.
The best gift you can give yourself is finding the mixture that stimulates your senses while fortifying that sweet balance between excess and starvation. The best gift you can give someone else is to discover the treasure of invisible gifts within yourself. The more gifts you have, the more you can give to others.
As the pulse of the Christmas season begins within your heart and extends into each twinkling eye, wrap each interaction with love. Send those good vibes to the strangers in line for hot chocolate and to each package-laden shopper. There are no scissors sharp enough to cut the ribbon wrapped with love.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.