Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best Gift

Time is precious… enjoy the moment before the sun sets.
Alex Soh
No, the best gift is not an iPhone, although it’s a good one. =) This Christmas, I learned that the best gift is time. As I pondered on this, I realized that even Jesus took the time to be born as a man and do what He did. And my position probably has a lot to do with the fact that quality time is my very first love language (touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and service being the other ones). Like it or not though, we cannot do or deliver any of the other love languages without spending time. It is the one common denominator in all of them. We cannot write or say the words of affirmation, buy the gifts, touch, or serve, without setting aside the time to do it. Time will always be used. We cannot offer anything nor express love without using it.

This is how I got to this realization. First of all, this Christmas was different from all the others. It’s the first that we spent without Evan. We missed him and sleeping beside the Christmas tree was just not the same without him. We are consoled by the fact that he spent Christmas with my parents and siblings in Toronto. Secondly, Eng’s mom and brother (and family) from Malaysia were here (from 19-26 December). Seng is Eng’s only Christian brother (of four) so it was extra special that we were able to celebrate Christmas together. We did the usual touristy activities the week they were here so we were busy. We also took time to go camping (a first!) with the Moores (this was mentioned in our Canadian Thanksgiving post) and other families. And for Christmas day, we decided to invite friends who don’t have families to hang out with us so twenty of us were all gathered at the Moores. It was a lot of fun!

What Eng and I didn’t quite anticipate were the protests we received when we told our sons that we’d have our own Christmas celebration on the 26th after the relatives left. They were so disappointed and frustrated not to open their gifts on the 25th! I was really quite surprised by the drama that played out before me! I didn’t really think a day would make all that difference! However, we heard our sons and we’ve learned not to postpone our celebration without them understanding what we’re doing. In the end, Eric said that it wasn’t about the gifts. He said he just thought this year would be different from last year. He added that we were so busy last year that we didn’t have time to take him to the hospital when he talked to us about his neck. Ouch. Eng’s mom and Evan were both here last year. We also had Eng’s 50th surprise birthday party on the 2nd of January to prepare for. Time sure flew then. That same time was not spent on Eric’s request. Regardless of how we can explain where our time went, the fact is, had his neck been looked at sooner, it might have decreased the amount of treatment (chemo and radiation) he needed for his cancer. We should have taken the time then to get him looked at. Thank you, Lord, for our lesson. I see that Eric’s cancer was healed earlier this year but as we give him our time now (to talk, for driving lessons, his wart removal, playing games, etc.); he’s receiving the healing of anger in his heart. In this case, as they say, time (literally) heals. Let’s use it wisely. If we don’t, we could end up with hurt loved ones. We’ll find, like Evan that loved ones wouldn’t be around to give time to. And as we’ll all someday “set”, we won’t be around to give it.

Incidentally, Eric ate 33 pieces of sushi, a small pizza, and two servings each of Tiramisu and Cream Brulee when we had our Christmas buffet meal. For those praying for his eating, thank you, the Lord is surely answering you!

Eli made us realise that we're God's gifts to one another when as an eleven month old baby (above), he slept under the Christmas tree on Christmas eve. Over the years, we've had our own versions of sleeping by the tree - as this year's picture shows.

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