Rick has been warning me for a couple weeks that he "had something for me" on December 21st. Rick is a faithful brother at the church who's been a serving part of our community for years. So after our worship gathering yesterday he comes up to me with a priority mail box labeled with my name (Rick works at the post office).
"Should I open it now or later?"
"Well I guess I'd like to have you open it in front of me so I can see your face when you open it." I wrapped up some conversations with people and a little while later I grab the box and move over by Rick calling my wife over as well.
I tear into the box and pull it open and inside I see a huge 3-ring binder. The front is labeled Football Collectors Album and it is heavy. I open to the first page and there he is--pound for pound the greatest player of all time, one of very few bright spots in the history of the NFL franchise I cheer for, the most elusive and entertaining running back to ever play the game: Barry Sanders!
And Barry is not just on the first page. His cards fill every page, page after page, 40 or more pages of just about every football card ever made for Barry Sanders.
"I collected them at card shows and shops over the years." Over the years. Rick has been collecting this amazing Barrylection "over the years". "I thought to myself one day, 'Pastor Kevin would appreciate this more than me'". So he gave it to me for Christmas. (By the way, there is a bonus section of my favorite receiver in Lion history, Herman Moore, in the back of the album.)
I think this is the essence of a true Christmas gift:
- It has great personal worth both for the giver and the receiver
- Its high actual value can't be easily calculated
- It bears a lot of personal effort and cost
- It can't be reciprocated--I can't give Rick a gift that could match what he has given me
I think this is the most valuable Christmas gift I've ever received. A gift that in some way is a shadow of the gift of Jesus. This gift proves God's Christmas Value: it is better to receive.