Oftentimes, some of the most touching and tender stories come from the experiences of missionary friends. Included in these is the testimony of a woman who served as a teacher in a school in a west African country for many years. She had endeared herself to many of the children whom she taught.
When the Christmas season approached, she had one student, a teenage boy, who brought her a gift. It was an exquisite and beautiful sea shell. She knew these shells could only be found at the seashore, which was about 15 miles from the village where she taught. She also knew the only means of transportation for her pupils was on foot.
When she unwrapped the shell in the presence of her young friend, she expressed delight and surprise. “You had to go a long way to find this shell,” she said.
“Yes, ma’am, long walk, part of gift,” the boy responded.
Gifts cannot be measured in merely monetary values, but in sacrifice. Many people will open presents in the next few days. The greatest appreciation should be for those whose value is measured, “in the long walk ... part of gift.”
God’s gift to you and me is the sacrifice involved in leaving the heavenlies and the glory of being at the right hand of God. We cannot fully appreciate or show our gratitude for what God has given us, a Savior, until we grasp the infinite love expressed in “God so loved the word that he gave his only begotten Son.” (John 3:16)