Gifting with Forethought

Some of you may have completed your Christmas shopping. A few of you started months ago. I am loath to admit that I have done neither this year. Whereas this time last year found me putting the miles on my trusty Bernina, making gifts for loved ones, opening up an etsy store online, and selling handbags at a local shop, I find myself currently counting it a victory just to be all but over my perpetual illness in the last three months, as well as the heartache of a dream unrealized. Thinking ahead seems like such a luxury when I can't seem to chase down the last thought that ecaped my head. The Preacher calls that "baby eating the brain." Surely there is grace for seasons such as these.

And so it was beautifully humbling and inspiring to receive an early Christmas gift this past weekend...a gift that was begun just after Christmas last year. I was presented with a journal of prayers prayed weekly for me in 2010....letters to the Father on my behalf by a friend who committed and carried out this gift throughout this past year. As time and energy are the most precious of commodities, a gift of forethought and consistent intercession is undoubtedly unique and special. It is precious to me to think about the trials and seasons of this past year, and that the Lord provided through prayer and petition on my behalf throughout those times, though I was unaware.

A lovely painting of me with Number 4 also accompanied the prayer journal. It's uncommon to receive artwork as a gift when one's an artist, much less a painting of myself. I was so blessed to experience the receiving end of the labor of love that is art. You may recognize the photo upon which the painting is based, as the image accompanying a post several months back about resting and allowing others to bless me. How fitting an image, as it would appear that the Lord is teaching me to accept and embrace the encouragement and love of others in ways I've not known before.

May we celebrate the gift of God's most Precious this season, recognizing His loving determination and forethought to faithfully provide that which we could not accomplish for ourselves.

What are the most memorable gifts you've given or received that required extensive planning and forethought?