Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cold Feet, Warm Hearts

By Brenda Black

Early in November, falling evening temperatures already had my internal thermostat kicking into overdrive to keep fingers and toes warm and aching muscles at bay. For several nights, my icy feet begged for fuzzy socks, even though they were sandwiched between two sheets, a comforter and a quilt!

The days stayed unseasonably warm much to my delight, but while I soaked up the fleeting and far more distant Midwest rays, I sensed the looming dread of daytime freezing. That makes the night even worse! The numbing thoughts quickly squelched my warm fuzzy pleasure. Obviously, I'm not a big fan of cold. I shiver and ache from its bitter touch and entertain the concept of hibernation to stepping out into it's crisp grip.

It's important that you understand my great dislike in order to appreciate two very special gifts lavished upon me during this frigid time of year.

The first came from Mom and Dad who took me shopping for Christmas early to buy a new, winter coat. Aww! The very thought of it warmed me before I ever tried on a leather bomber or fur clad collar or floor length cover. What made the day even more special was the doting from my benefactors. They scoped the racks and pushed around hangers, predicting my preferences pretty accurately. We divided and conquered long and short, lightweight and heavy to narrow down the prospects.

My favorite part of the search and seize was backing into one sample after another, as Daddy prepped the jacket by swinging it wide open, and with gentlemanly flair, helping the lady into the cloak. Mom, never more than a rack away, cruised over for inspection and a vote cast by each of us determined the final decision. One by one, we eliminated zippered and buttoned and belted versions. Finally, a lovely, knee length wool with sleeves not too long, nor too short, just the right weight, just the right color, with pockets deep enough and collar wide enough, won unanimously. A colorful scarf finished the gift and one week later a cold snap provided the perfect opportunity for me to give the girl a chance to prove herself. The bitter wind stopped by woolen bliss!

On the coattails of that sweet and generous shopping trip, I was taken by surprise by a friend at church one Sunday. She came toting a cumbersome package and plopped it into my arms as she grinned a satisfied smile. “It's your Christmas present early,” she declared and turned to walk away.

I wrestled the soft-sided, over-sized lump until I could see the front label. “Heated Mattress Pad with Dual Controls”. I wanted to kiss her!

For several days and nights now, I've staved off brisk winds and hypothermic appendages all because of thoughtful people. Their gestures were personal, intuitive and generous – perfect examples of the ways that God gifts His children.

“'If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.'” (Matthew 7:11-12)

As you whittle away at your Christmas list, remember that the best gifts are those most customized and thoughtful, the kind that warms not just the body, but the soul. Imitate the greatest gift-giver, God. Remember, He sent love, wrapped in swaddling clothes to save cold-hearted sinners. I think He continues to save cold-footed ones too, through the love of others.

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