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This Gift's for You

We were in a department store when my fondest dream came to life. Actually, I found it sleeping behind a cellophane window in a cardboard box. The toy jet in the loud markings of Braniff International Airlines might as well have been created just for me. Instant memories of standing with my father at a distant airport watching Braniff's green, blue, pink, and orange jets soared out of that box. For a nine-year-old who wanted to be a pilot some day, this metal and plastic wonder was a necessity. I fell in love with that orange plane at first sight.

There was a problem. I didn't have an unlimited supply of spending money. There was an even bigger problem. My father and I weren't shopping for toys for me. We were looking for a Christmas gift to take to the fourth grade Christmas party. Yes, Daddy would buy one of those beautiful treasures for one of my classmates, but he wouldn't buy it for me. I suppose I could have pouted, well yes, I'm sure I pouted at least a little. But pouting or otherwise, there was no question about getting that airplane, even if I had to give it away. At least I could have that much contact with it.

So we bought the airplane. Of course, I wasn't allowed to play with it before wrapping it. My father's kids didn't have the option of growing up that cheap. I still managed to memorize what I could, not just the details of the toy but even the box it came in. All too soon, my love was hidden from sight by bright Christmas paper. Daddy suggested the title on the label: “Here's some joy for a boy.” I had no doubt about the joy part, but of course, I was sure that the joy was headed for the wrong boy.

I clung to one glimmer of hope as I planned to give away my joy. Our school gift exchanges were impersonal. The teacher attached a number to each gift. Each student drew a number from a container. Then he or she was given the gift that went with that number. There was a chance I'd draw my own number. I would willingly have rigged the system, but that was virtually impossible. My math skills weren't strong enough to calculate the odds of getting my own number, but the chance was about seven per cent--enough to keep a nine-year-old daydreaming.

I didn't draw my own number. I almost remember who got that wonderful toy airplane. I clearly remember that he didn't duly appreciate the wonderful thing he'd just received. Of course, I didn't really appreciate the gift I received either. I can't remember for sure what it was, only that it was not the airplane.

Meanwhile at home, my sisters enjoyed teasing me. A large package with my name on it had appeared under the Christmas tree. At least one of the girls rocked that package back and forth so I could hear a smaller object sliding around and hitting the ends of the box. But as mysterious as it all was, it wasn't the airplane. The box was too big and didn't have a soft spot for a cellophane window on the top and one side.

Christmas morning finally rolled around. Many pretty packages turned to trash as we liberated their contents. Among other boxes, I unwrapped the one my sisters liked to shake. Hidden deep inside the bigger box was a smaller cardboard box. It had a cellophane window in the top and folding down one side. Behind the clear plastic sat a beautiful, orange Braniff International Airlines 727 jet! This one wouldn't be handed out at random to a kid who'd picked a number. No, a loving father had secretly paid for it, wrapped it in a box his impatient son couldn't identify, and given it to him. Yes, I'd loved a present that wasn't—that really couldn't be—mine, but now I had my dream with no strings attached. This wonderful airplane, this generator of boyish joy, this beautiful, bright-colored treasure, this gift of love was for me!

Many years ago, an angel told some shepherds that God had just given them a wonderful Christmas gift. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Now that news was really good for those shepherds, but I'm thankful for the words, “which shall be to all people.” The greatest Gift of all time, Christmas gift or otherwise, isn't slipping away to a handful of men who died long ago. This Gift belongs to each of us who receive Him by faith. This one is for me! It's for you too, if you'll take it.

My little orange airplane didn't last so very long, but the Gift of Bethlehem, the Savior, lasts for all eternity. The Savior is the Heavenly Father's expensive Gift to all who will take Him. Will you?

Click here to learn how to receive the gift of the Savior for yourself.

This work is in the pubic domain and may be copied and distributed freely.


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