For churches, the soon coming Christmas day is a big day that must be celebrated. Churches are decorated with Christmas ornaments and a big Christmas tree covered with lights, on which stands a star symbolizing Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Under the tree lie the gifts from church members to others. They buy and wrap the gifts and put them under the tree for those in most need to take away. I remember that my Christmas one year in a theological class was like this:
It was a very cold Christmas. Everyone had their gifts prepared for the day. Some had bought a pair of gloves, and some had bought a pair of cotton boots or a scarf. I had bought a USB flash drive which was quite precious at that time and cost me a couple of days' expenses. One of my classmates, I had heard, had bought a pair of socks worth of only 5 yuan. Everyone thought that she was mean. How could she give a pair of socks as a Christmas gift?
On Christmas day, we randomly exchanged gifts. The gift I received was those socks. I was so sad that I had exchanged my flash drive for some socks. What a terrible Christmas!
After we all had gotten our gifts, the classmate who had given the socks opened her gift box and instantly some money fell out. The money was counted and calculated to be 2000 yuan.
From her desk-mate I had learned something about her. After her father had died in a mine disaster. Her mother had a very hard life with two children, laying in bed badly ill and not being able to afford to see a doctor. Classmates wanted to donate money to her, but because of her strong character, she rejected any kind of donation. Thus her roommates tried to figure out another way to help her.
They finally decided to put money into a shabby paper box as a Christmas gift, and prayed to God that it could make the best contribution.
She was a gentle and quiet person. If a group of people formed a queue, she would not be the one in the front. Likewise she behaved that way at Christmas. She was the last one to pick up a gift after many pretty boxes had been taken. It was the shabby box that she picked up, in which was the money for living expenses prepared by those who cared about her.
What I got was a pair of socks worth only 5 yuan, almost the cheapest one of that pile of gifts. I heard that it was a hard decision for her to spend 5 yuan on a pair of socks, since she spent on next to nothing, and the socks she wore were much cheaper, worth 5 yuan per bundle. She wore these disposable socks many times.
While I was listening to her story, I was reminded of the Bible story in which Jesus praised a poor widow for giving her best, which was two copper coins, almost all of what she had to live on. This was compared to a large offering from a rich man for whom it was just from his surplus. A gift that seemed insignificant might imply that the giver is trying so hard to love. It is a wonderful person, the one who does his best when giving, though his offering might not be a large one.
It was too much for her to buy those socks for herself, but she chose to put them in a gift box for her classmate. This is a tribute to her best love. I am so far behind in such great love. My living conditions were quite good at that time. Even a bunch of USB flash drives cost me a small part of my wealth. However, my bunch of USB flash drives are a small tribute compared to her pair of socks.
Such kind of misjudgment happens in our daily lives quite often. Someone may tried his/her best to love the other, while the other in his/her own perspective may resent it for certain reservations. After that, I took everyone's love for me as their best. So, there is no resentment, but only gratitude. Like that Christmas, I received the cheapest gift and yet the biggest love of all.
There is an old woman without any son or daughter in our church. Every year the church has given her some foodstuffs such as rice and oil, but she still keeps working. Usually, she has made handicrafts to sell at the fair, but she has only been able to make a little money from it. Last year, she made a pair of insoles and put it on the platform of the church as a gift. A lad who picked the gift said that he felt so happy that he could have such insoles, for there was marvelous love beyond description in them. They are more than insoles. They are the expression of love of a lonely old woman to Jesus.
-Translated by Lin Changfeng