My daughter got excited about the idea of the dollhouse, and so we headed upstairs to open the box of supplies that had long been abandoned. Inside were extra shingles, small parts for wood repairs, and two boxes of my old dollhouse furniture. They were taped shut and inside was a note my mother had written "packed on August 23, 1990." The date was exactly 18 years and 1 day before my daughters birthday. My son said it well, "it's like your mother knew Violet would want it and packed a birthday present for her." As we carefully unwrapped each and every fragile item, memories came flooding back of the many happy days I had spent as a child with that dollhouse, the tender remembrances of shopping for each piece with my mother, and the joy I had when I first received that gift so many years ago that my father had built just for me. Violet became equally excited as I shared with her how special all of this was. That sealed the deal and we got to work.
For the past two days of our Christmas break, my children and I have been scraping off old wallpaper, rewiring small lamps, and repairing this little house. It's been a much larger project than I anticipated, but it has brought our little family together in ways for which I will be forever grateful. My daughter understood the importance of what we were doing when she said: "and I can give it to my daughter and she can give it to her daughter and she can give it to her daughter."
A family heirloom begins in this new year.
We worship this week remembering the gift of Epiphany, as the three wise men visit the Christ child to bring him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, that the true gift in life is love. It is the love in which a gift is created, the love in which a gift is given, and the love that is revealed through it beyond the time that passes. It is a love that binds us through time, and can even speak to us beyond death.
I am praying this week for those families in Garland and Rowlett who have lost many family heirlooms in the devastating tornado. Those are treasures that no insurance claim can replace. And yet, even those losses have been put in perspective with the loss of lives that occurred. All who survived are thankful to have their lives and in that recognition, the love that binds beyond time and place is essential to hold on to. We too, will respond in a gift of love, as we reach out with our gifts and time and service to help in the efforts of repairs in the following weeks. And so it is that the gift of love becomes once again the most precious of all.
May we give thanks for the love that is our gift this Christmas season,