Somewhere out of the blur of activities and the exhaustion of preparations, out of the anticipation of gathering this day yet to come, here in this much-worn living room lined with our motley assortment of pajama-clad human beings, the truth dawns of God's insistent, persistent reach toward us.  The Gift – the lavish unlimited provision of grace, given before we even knew we needed it – this great Gift descends upon us all like dew on thirsty plants.  We drink it in.  We turn our faces toward the words. 

The children and their parents look to see if I am crying.  I am.  I can't help it.  In grateful celebration of this Gift, we have cleaned and cooked and kept secrets and hoarded resources and sacrificed to make and find things to delight one another.  We have secretly written poems and painted pictures and sewn garments and baked cookies for those we love because He has taught us to "love one another; as I have loved you" (John 13:34 KJV).  Simple exhaustion, aching backs, sore feet – these are nothing … for love.

I see the gifts under the tree – the beautiful ones, the simple ones, the ones with crooked bows on hand-stamped butcher paper.  They are only symbols, really.  What would I give the children that would outlast all the secrets bought and made with such careful intentions?  What would endure beyond the silk scarves, leather jackets, and pleated wool skirts?  What would still serve them after they've outgrown the boots and the sleds and the skates?  What would be even more valuable after the gold and silver rings have tarnished, the instruments have been laid aside, and arthritis has caused them to put down their tennis rackets and golf clubs?

Christmas gift!  I hear it still echoing through my mind.  "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes" (Luke 2:7 KJV).  What would I give the children … because of Him?

Excerpted from "He Started the Whole World Singing:  A Treasury of Gaither Christmas Songs, Reflections and Holiday Traditions."  Copyright © 2004 by Gloria Gaither.  Used by permission of Warner Faith/ Time Warner Book Group

Gloria Gaither, and her husband Bill, have produced over 600 songs, 60 recordings, numerous awards, a dozen musicals, a collection of books, three children, and four grandchildren.  Famous not only as a songwriter and speaker, Gloria Gaither has come to be known as a stateswoman in the field of Christian ministry.  She has touched the hearts of audiences everywhere with her simple yet profound message