Gift-giving, though a big part of the holiday season, can get mired in a lot of debate. But beneath all the hoopla, there’s something about a thoughtful gift that touches the heart. A good present shows that the giver truly understands and cares about the recipient—like the giant carton of goldfish crackers my husband, Darren, gave me for my birthday this year. Some might call that a gifting faux pas, but because I really, really like goldfish crackers, it was perfect because I knew Darren understood me.
I asked some other RTB staff members to recall memorable (in a good way) gifts they’ve received over the years.
Sandra, assistant editorial director: One year when I was a teenager I received a pair of black leg warmers from my grandmother. She knew they were precisely what I needed to save my shins from the stress of rigorous dancing, and she took the time to get a ride to the mall (since she didn’t drive) to buy them for me.
Sia, publicist and ministry care manager: My husband knows how much it means to me to be able to give presents to the family, but I never have enough money. So, he gave me all the money he’s been saving for my Christmas gift so I can give gifts this year.
Bryan, chapters manager: I’m a huge Indiana Jones fan. Several years ago, my older brother gave me a 12’ latigo bullwhip for Christmas. This was my first real whip, so I learned how to crack a whip with it. It will always have a special place in my heart.
Hannah, ministry advancement director: Beth [a former RTB staff member] gave me book on women travelers, as she knows that I find stories of women inspiring and that I love to travel. It was a combination of two things I am passionate about.
In the same way that a meaningful gift leaves an impression on us, so creation communicates to us that we have a thoughtful Creator who cares about our everyday lives. In a special edition of I Didn’t Know That! RTB founder Hugh Ross talks about how researching the natural world has confirmed the reality of God’s intimate care and understanding.
Often, I think we get the idea that God is busy—always looking out for the poor people in Africa or trying to take care of the world leaders. Well, He is doing all that, but He’s not too busy to pay attention to the events that are going on in your life and He’s not too busy to direct circumstances and people in your life to bring about the maximum benefit for you.
Hugh encourages people to look to creation whenever they doubt God’s care for them. He lists the design of the universe and solar system, animals, and other people as evidence. This idea of God’s purpose in designing creation to benefit humans is a theme throughout Hugh’s writing, particularly his books Why the Universe Is the Way It Is and Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job.
In my own observations of creation, I’m particularly impressed by the variety of edible resources God has made available to us. Did He really need to create—or create the potential for—so many types of apples and lettuce? Did He have to make pomegranates and peaches so delectable? Was it necessary to create cocoa or coffee trees? Probably not—yet here they all are. What’s more, I often get the feeling that He knows little details, like culinary preferences, about each person. He knows that Hugh would prefer a plate of fruit for dessert while I have a fondness for dark chocolate.
In Psalm 139, David declares:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
So, not only is God not too busy to care, He’s not too busy to know and understand us on a personal level. If ever you struggle to believe this, just take a page out of Hugh’s book and “look at the rest of the creation.”