No matter which winter holiday you celebrate most likely a gift exchange will be part of the celebration. With each gift given and received the one that matters the most is the hidden gift. I am sure you have received the hidden gift before, but I’ll bet you didn’t realize it. I’ll give you some clues as to what it is and then you can decide for yourself if you have ever received one.
Not all gifts come wrapped. The hidden gift is one of those unwrapped gifts. It is also somewhat invisible which is kind of funny because it is right out in the open but most of us don’t realize it. We tend to take it for granted and forget to appreciate it. It is the one and only gift everyone wants each year. It is a gift no store can market and sell to you, although they try. This gift costs nothing and is priceless at the same time. Even Jesus received this gift at his birth but most of us don’t realize it was the fourth gift he received.
When you think back to the story of Jesus you probably remember the three gifts from the Wise Men of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Well, there was a fourth gift no one remembers to mention…and that is of the Wise Men showing up to honor the newborn child. If they hadn’t come, the moment would have been less magical and most likely not recorded in history. Could they have sent a shepherd to deliver the gift for them? Sure, but then the impact of Three Kings coming a long distance to pay their respects would have been missing. Their presence was a huge “present” and a very necessary element to the event and its future significance. You see it is our presence that comes with our gifts that is the best gift of all. It is our “presence” that makes the present we give meaningful. Let me explain.
Have you ever heard that “it is the thought that counts?” Well that is actually true. This hidden gift begins the moment someone considers gifting another because this is when they begin to apply their “presence” to the present. We ask: “what shall I give them, what would they like?” And the best question of all …”what would they love?” It is your level of conscious care and attention that selects the loving present. Did you just “phone it in” and buy the first thing you saw, or did you give it careful thought and consideration? Even if you cannot deliver the present in person you can still apply the hidden gift magic by giving your selection considerable thought such as wrapping it in a special way, making sure it is delivered on time or even early. You could even follow up with a phone call or have an internet Skype visit. All of these actions make your wrapped gift priceless and memorable; which is the hidden gift we all really long for – time and attention from another.
This hidden unwrapped gift is of course love – in action. If you can visit in person like the Wise Men did then the conversation and the warmth of having others to share moments with enhances the whole holiday. This hidden gift has the ability to make all the other wrapped gifts and even food that much richer.
I bet if I were to ask you what you got for your birthday or a holiday event last year, or 5 years ago you might not remember the item but if I asked “how” you celebrated the event; who came, what you did together etc. that you would remember. Let me also ask you this, what is it at holiday time that you take pictures of? Is it the presents you got; or the people opening them, toasting the day, laughing and hamming it up for the camera? In this way the hidden gift becomes visible; when we take pictures of it which last for years to come. Then when we look at them we feel the love once again…magic!
Think about this as your holiday season evolves and you attend all the various events like a cookie exchange at work, or carol with your club or your major holiday meal and see if it isn’t this “hidden gift” that you treasure the most. Take lots of pictures of it and you will be receiving the gift again every time you look at them. Remember that your presence is the first and best present you give at the holiday; and it is one that rewards you as well with good feelings as you go about your holiday shopping.
Have a wonderful holiday and perhaps gift me with your presence by writing back to tell me about the many hidden gifts you got this year.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach ©
PS – this is a family photo of a special gift my daughter got us…matching Yellow Submarine T-shirts. They are getting worn out now but the memory of the fun we had lingers on.