I reach my hand into a cardboard box on my kitchen counter. I pull out something wrapped in a white muslin dishtowel, embroidered with little blue birds. As I unwrap it, my 3 year old asks,
What is it, Mom?”
“It is a water glass,” I reply.
Who gave it to us?”
Why did she give it to us, Mom?”
“Because she wanted us to have it,” I explain nebulously.
Why did she want us to have it?”
I swallow hard. “Because she doesn’t need it anymore.”
Why doesn’t she need it anymore?”
I knew that one was coming. “Because she’s with Jesus, honey.”
That wasn’t easy.
I’ve been having that conversation with little Micah over, and over, and over again over the past several days. My husband spent much of his holiday weekend packing up and clearing out what was left in her little apartment. Next weekend, someone else will move into her apartment, and it will be clean and bare. The cardinals and chickadees and woodpeckers outside her patio window will sing to someone else.
In the meantime, there is furniture to move. A couch, a recliner, a kitchen table. A bed and a dresser. Bookshelves and coffee tables.
A lot of little, mundane things, too. Dish soap, and bath towels, and toilet paper. Notebooks, pens, and telephones. Cookbooks and photo albums. And water glasses. All things that she used so regularly in her tidy little home, now finding places and uses in my home and in the homes of other family members.
I ponder the thought of something as fragile as a water glass outliving someone as sturdy and strong as my grandma, and I am reminded that so much of the “stuff” of this life has very little eternal value. Tackling this task as Christmas approaches has once again challenged my stubborn, cultural perspective on gift giving.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank-you that, through your Son Jesus Christ, I have everything I need. You have given me so many great gifts, the foremost of which being your gracious Gospel and by it, salvation. Help me to seek first Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness, and may I not be tempted to give undue importance to temporal things. In Jesus’s Name, AMEN.