My daughter Cathrine went on a 4th Grade Field Trip to the Grand Canyon and got back last night at 8:30 p.m. It was a whirlwind 23 hour trip, but Cathrine LOVED it! As she got in the car, she showed me an adorable little stuffed brown bear. She immediately started to say that it was for everyone and how she ran out of money when she was trying to buy gifts. She seemed upset about something, but I couldn't tell what.
For those that don't know, Cathrine was born in Africa and experienced deprivation of every sort for the first 11 years of her life. In the past two years with us, she has made remarkable gains, but struggles with communication and anything to do with math - especially money. In spite of the challenges, Cathrine is a warm and loving child who is a great delight to us.
Back to last night. As we got home, I started to sort out the story as Cathrine opened a small giftstore bag to show me two small rings. She had taken $20 of her own money to buy a souvenir of some kind, but decided first to buy everyone a small gift. So she started with two of her teachers and bought them each a small ring with the first initial of their last names. I looked at the price on the rings and realized each was $3.99. Times that by two, add tax, and Cathrine would have been left with $11 for other gifts and herself.
I imagine she stood at the gift store counter bewildered by the reality of what she had just done. She probably was embarrased to ask any of her classmates for help. And maybe the teacher wasn't around. There she stood with just over half of her money, and three brothers and a sister left to buy for.
Standing in our kitchen looking at the three items she purchased, I smiled brightly and told her how everyone was going to love their gifts, and what wonderful purchases she made. She smiled back and the night ended well.
This morning as she wrapped up the little rings, I kept thinking about those two teachers who were going to receive a gift today. All they will see today is a little silver ring. They are wonderful women and I know they will be very loving and appreciative. But will they truly understand the sacrifice Cathrine made?
Will they understand that their gifts cost Cathrine half of what she had? Will they understand the frustration and worry it caused Cathrine as she realized she didn't have enough to buy her family any gifts? Will they treasure those little rings, or will they get put in a drawer with the other gifts from students throughout the year?
As I pondered these thoughts, I thought about a gift I was given 2000 years ago today as my Savior hung dying on a cross for me. Do I truly understand the sacrifice? Do I understand the anguish God the Father must have felt? Do I treasure this gift or do I put it in a drawer or on a shelf?
I wonder if God the Father asks Himself, "Do they really understand the sacrifice this was?"
Today, my challenge is to fully explore the sacrifice that was made for me. It's easy to gloss over the cost for my freedom, but today is the day to share in the suffering of Jesus. Today is the day to focus on what our eternal life cost God.
We know Sunday is coming. There will be time for celebration. Today, let's sit for a moment in the sacrifice. It's only in truly understanding the cost, that we can fully appreciate the gift.
In His Love,