Some are worthy because they are loved.
The gifts I got for my 28th birthday arrived in all sorts of packages, very few of them actually wrapped in paper. They came as heartwarming text greetings, a thoughtful breakfast on a tray at the office, a moving “eulogy”, phonecalls, sweets (yummy!), wishes written on hand-shaped cards (“May you have more gifts than you can hold”), cheery renditions of the birthday song, heart-baring YM chat sessions, a dinner date despite a hectic pre-wedding schedule… and more!
I didn’t deserve any one of them. Then again, who deserves gifts? In its essence, gift-giving is an act of grace. And so is gift-receiving. When you’re at the receiving end of someone’s generous expression of love, you are placed in a position of humility and awe. An instinctive reaction is to immediately think of some way to return the favor, to repay the giver. But that somehow diminishes the power of the gift, degrading its grace-filled wonder to mere transaction.
The best response to a heartfelt gift is gratitude and a sober understanding of how undeserving and nonetheless loved we are. Do not resolve to repay the gift-giver or attempt to even out the score. Instead, work to improve your love for others: Love harder – less fearfully, more fiercely. You will find that your love, when it is full, inevitably wraps the most thoughtful of gifts – from the simplest to the most extravagant – that convey the deepest, most affecting messages which only the heart can open, unbound by any expectation of reciprocation.
To friends and family who have made my birthday special, Thank You! In you own little ways, you have plowed and watered a long-arid ground where hope, joy, and peace have once again sprung to life. Your love, as shown in your thoughtful gifts, is a resounding call for me to worship the Giver of “every good and perfect gift.”