Last Updated on September 4, 2018

Maybe it’s because it’s December. Maybe not. Gifts are given at other times of the year, I know. And all are not wrapped in shiny paper tied with ribbons. Gifts of inheritance, received after a death, are visible around my house in a set of Depression glassware, a loveseat, a crocheted blanket, a quilt — all physical reminders of my two grandmothers’ lives. But both of these women also gave me gifts, before my birth, that I’m still finding wrapped and unused.

Last week, I was reflecting with amazement that I’ve jumped into a new artistic arena. Fellow blogger Janel Breitenstein and I are writing a poem together about the birth of Christ. I hated studying the works of Poe in high school. They were depressing. But my favorite grandmother loved poetry. Though she was a poor, south Arkansas cotton farmer’s wife, my Mimi was a very creative woman who made her own dress patterns, painted decorative furniture, and wrote an essay for a contest that won her family of four an all-expense paid trip to the 1939 New York World’s Fair. My mother says Mimi’s creative gifts skipped her and all landed in my genetic code. I don’t entirely agree with her self-assessment, but a hand not human does rule the distributing of abilities.

Grandma Lilly, on my paternal side, was an immigrant child who grew up in Chicago and once owned the glassware now in my cabinet and the loveseat in my bedroom. I also wear a ring on my right hand that was hers. She had an appreciation for timeless design and beautiful well-made goods, probably because her father was a furniture maker and a tailor. My father says he often came home from school to find all the furniture in their living room had been completely rearranged in his absence. She was also the grandmother whose presence scared my brother and me half to death, but that is another story.

Any gift given must be unwrapped to be used and appreciated. In the providence of God, I’m now opening these inherited gifts of creative expression, which is just as He intended.

Following His plan, His direction, and His leading for my life or any life ushers Christ followers into realms of continual personal development.

I often wonder how shallow and mediocre my life would be apart from the gracious hand of my heavenly Father. What would I have missed? A friend of ours said recently that he has developed strengths he never knew he had in his brief tenure as a college president. I understand as I’m finding and developing in a new season of life those creative gifts my grandmothers gave me.

James tells us, “Every good gift and perfect gift comes from above, …” (1:17). “When the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4a), Paul wrote, Jesus came to earth, the greatest gift ever given. Though his arrival may have seemed late to those who waited for centuries, God’s timing is always perfect. So my late unwrapping of my grandmothers’ gifts, given by my Father on high, is actually just on time.

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