This year I signed up for the Secret Santa Sister program at church because, you see, I love secrets and surprises, even the ones where the home pregnancy test dot changes color. Thank you, Lord, for Rebecca!
I was so excited! I had dozens of ideas of how I might surprise my designated sister . . . crazy and creative schemes to shower her with love and encouragement. I thought about renting a skywriting airplane, putting an ad in the classified section, staging a flash mob, getting a tattoo, asking the mayor to declare a day in her honor, having a flag flown over the capitol, naming a star after her, writing a song, and you get the idea, generally broad siding her with gee-whiz moments. Well, you know what happened?! The holidays happened. There were tangled lights and cold-tingled limbs; stocking stuffers and stuffing myself into stockings; dropping needles and gaining weight; carpal tunnel Christmas card-itis; parties, lunches, teas, and cocktails, dinners, balls, desserts, and brunches; Silent Night and loud malls, angels harking and dogs barking; board games and bored games; losing the tape, finding the scissors, finding the tape, losing the scissors, losing my mind, finding Nemo. Jesus got lost in the shuffle, somewhere between aisle two and ladies’ lingerie, and so did my Secret Sister. Oh, yeah, I managed to mail a few items, write a few notes, and sneak a few packages on her front porch, but I had planned oh so much more. It was my goal to bombard her, slather her, dunk her, plaster her, impress upon her, undergird her, surround her, and astound her with the love and grace of God through Christ Jesus. Since I failed to carry out my mission the first time around, let me tell you, Secret Santa Sister, what I would give to you if I could.
I would give you peace . . . not world peace, though that would be awesome, or whirled peas, though they would be healthy, but God’s peace, the peace that passes all understanding. It has the power to penetrate and overtake every ounce of our being and to smooth out and assuage every ragged emotion that is part of our human condition. It is the balm of Gilead, not sold at Bath and Body Works, and it does, indeed, make the wounded whole. It is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I would give you hope, the hope that is spelled out in Jeremiah 29:11 . . . the Lord’s plans to “prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.” This kind of hope provides sure footing for our life journey and a spring in our step that far exceeds anything that a little pink pill can do. It opens wide our eyes to the friends who accompany us, the joys that bloom along our path, and the secure knowledge that we have a Divine purpose in our walk. Above all, hope is the assurance of eternal life in the very presence of our Creator God. It is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I would give you faith -- unshakeable, rock solid, unwavering, unswerving, steadfast, Gorilla-glue-like faith. Yep, I would give you a little chunk of genuine faith, about the size of a mustard seed, because that is all you need to see you through the storms of life. I would give you the will to do faith work-outs, sorta like Zumba class and water aerobics, but not exactly. That is, I would encourage you to grow your faith muscle by regularly exercising it through the practice of the Spiritual disciplines (you’ll have to read up on those). Invite the Holy Spirit to be your faith fitness coach and boom, the faith you need to move mountains will be yours. It is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I would give you grace or, as the definition says, “God’s unmerited favor.” In other words, I would give you the knowledge that you were, are, will be . . . in every tense . . . forgiven! I would also give you the mercy and goodness you need to extend that forgiveness to others – radical, extravagant, other-worldly forgiveness, because that’s what God offers us, self-centered creeps that we are. This kind of grace and forgiveness was made possible through the sacrifice of God’s only Son. It is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I would give you love, in all its many forms: storge or affectionate love; philia or friendship love; eros or romantic love (We gotta keep those home fires burning!); and agape or unconditional love. Agape love is found you know where. It is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Oh, dear Secret Sister, on top of all that, I would also give you a diamond bracelet; a cruise to a Caribbean resort; a life-time’s worth of his and her massages; a personal chef, tailor, gardener, hairdresser, and housekeeper; a Mary Poppins babysitter at your command; every New York Times best-seller; a membership in the Chocolate of the Month Club; and a super sweet red convertible.
I would also give you good health, a bevy of wild and crazy girlfriends, and laughter, laughter, laughter. It is, without a doubt, the best medicine, unless your pelvic floor muscles are weak.
Finally, I would give you the answer to your question: “Who is my Secret Santa Sister?” Your secret sister is me! I love you, Courtney, and will continue to pray that peace, hope, faith, grace, love, health, girlfriends and laughter are yours, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. As for the rest, well, you’re on your own! When do you want to do lunch?