The Gift That Keeps on Giving

You’ve probably heard about those gifts that keep on giving...and advertisers will say that about nearly all of their products. But in actuality, there are very few meaningful gifts that “keep on giving.” But I am privileged to say that I received one of those precious kind of gifts.

When my siblings and I were young, we would get up on Christmas morning, before the sun was even up, and we’d run into the living room to examine what was under the tree. One such morning we ran to the living room and we saw this big dark looming shadow, and it scared us right back into bed until it was light enough to see. Soon we were very happy to discover that it was a toboggan. For many years my Dad would take us to a park that had a big toboggan slide and some big, icy hills. I could never put a pricetag on those incredibly happy times we spent together on that toboggan.

My Dad was one of those kind of people who hated clutter so badly, that as children we very much realized that if we wanted to keep any cherished toys, they had to be tucked away in a closet or a toy box when we weren’t playing with them... otherwise they would be gone. But the few things that Dad kept were always clean and shiny, and always put in their place. One of the things that he kept clean, shiny, polished and painted at all times was that toboggan. It looked brand new even though we had it for many years.

When I was older and had children of my own, my Dad asked me one day if I wanted the toboggan. Of course, I was thrilled to take it. Then my children, Alyssa & Nathan, were able to enjoy it... and they really enjoyed it! We don’t have big hills in Southern Illinois like the ones I enjoyed in my home state of Wisconsin, so they would connect the toboggan to a four-wheeler and pull it around in the snow, spinning and laughing all the way. It made me feel so good to think that the same Christmas gift that brought my family so much happiness, brought them so much enjoyment too.

A few years ago my Dad passed away. It was a terrible loss. That same winter I remember I pulled my car into the garage and spotted the toboggan. There it was, all dirty, scratched and the paint was chipping off of it.. Then I remembered how meticulously Dad used to take care of it, and my conscience couldn’t stand it any longer. I knew that I had to take some time to clean it, so I got out a bucket of soapy water and started scrubbing. While I was scrubbing the memories started flooding back into my mind about the wonderful times we had together on this toboggan. But all of a sudden another thought struck me, “How in the world did this toboggan survive all those years when my sister, my brother and I were gone from home?” We had all moved to different states and had been gone quite a number of years before Dad had given me the toboggan. So how did it stay with him all those years when it was his policy to get rid of everything he didn’t need? Suddenly the answer came...and so did the tears. Dad only kept the things that meant the absolute most to Him. That day my heart heard my Dad say “I love you” louder and more distinctly than I previously ever heard him say it before.

I’ve learned that my heavenly Father keeps the things that mean the absolute most to Him too. Inspiration tells us that “Jesus will present His hands with the marks of His crucifiction. The marks of cruelty He will ever bear. Every print of the nails will tell the story of man’s wonderful redemption and the dear price by which it was purchased.” Although Jesus has the power to erase those nails prints, He chooses to keep them throughout all eternity because they mean so much to Him. Some might look at them and see scars, but Jesus looks at them and sees the children that He loves so much... that’s you and me! I think that’s what He’s talking about when He says in Isaiah 49:16 “For I have graven you on the palms of my hands.” And that’s a fact that echoes an “I love you” to even the darkest and most remote corners of the human heart!! And what a Gift that keeps on giving!

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