by - March 28, 2011

There are gifts, and then there are gifts. We all know the difference.

Two Christmases ago, we gave one of those gifts to our son: a letter to inform him that he would get to return to school. That's right, no more homeschool for him. The news was met with a dropped jaw and tears. Words just flat failed him.

Just a little bit before that, my mom received one of those gifts: a kidney, donated by a family that had lost a loved one so another family wouldn't have to lose theirs. How do you thank someone for that kind of gift?

Mike's received some of those gifts, too. A month of daily blood transfusions, sometimes two units at a time, kept a thirty-seven year old man with three small children alive literally for one day at a time. This ... for a man who had only ever given blood once in his whole, healthy life. This ... for a man who can't give blood now because he doesn't stay out of malaria-prone areas of Guatemala long enough to be Red Cross approved.

Then just last week he received another.

I'm sure he would have never guessed that a chicken would rank up there with educational freedom, vital organs, and life-blood. Oh, but it does.

You see, that bird means a full belly. We Americans in the twenty-first century, even the poor among us, don't know the value of a full stomach because we've never experienced an empty one -- not really. We might even laugh at the oddity of such a gift, all waddles and feathers and gobbles, and wonder what on earth we are supposed to do with a crazy thing like that? Who gives a chicken as a gift, anyway?

A Kek'chi family with literally nothing else but the best to give does. A Kek'chi family that knows the worry of what-will-we-feed-our-children-after-today gave away the only main course they had. They gave the last of their flour and oil to the Prophet that came to their village, like the starving woman did when Elijah came to town. Then God blessed it and made it enough to sustain all their lives.

All waddles and feathers and gobbles becomes food, and fellowship, and life, sacrificed and gifted by the one in terrible need with gratitude to the one who came to give, certainly not receive. And a common chicken becomes a holy offering.

It is food for a home full of children and food for thought, both. I, for one, did not eat of this chicken, yet it fills even me, this gift of so much life. The blessing reaches so far, I think I can smell the caldo de gallina (traditional Guatemalan chicken soup).

And how do you thank someone for that kind of gift?  Words just flat fail me.

You May Also Like


  1. It is staggering to think of the dire need vs our vast wealth. . . thank you for sharing. Each post digs deeper, Dawn. Keep writing. . .

  2. What a lovely gift!

    We give what we can.

    So glad you and your hubby have the kind of hearts that "get" the level of the gift.

  3. My daughter is from Guatemala, so this hit home. Thank you!

  4. at christmastime, my sister recieved a literal miracle of gifts to sustain her family and i remember just being blown away by the fact that she recieved it at all on others' mercy was b/cs of the Only Gift, the One Gift. and words flat fail me on the days i truly see the miracle of Gift-giving.

  5. Wow, how in the world can you accept a gift like that?! You do a good job of describing it in a positive light, but I can't imagine accepting something like that without being overtaken by guilt.

  6. Kati, it is indeed a sacrificial gift on a level I really know nothing about, but to not receive the gift would be most insulting. They gave from a heart of gratitude and love. Our church family has been ministering in some of these villages for 6 years. It was not a gift given or received lightly. My husband delivered it to our children's home in the city where it was used to feed them there. It is, however, quite humbling when you go there to give and you are given to instead.

  7. Wow! I don't know, how do you say thank you for a gift that precious? The last shall be first - somehow this is what comes to me. How this gift becomes the finest quality not based on the size of the chicken but the honest need of the giver. They have given the best.

  8. I had something to say, but then I read the comments and my thought disappeared. Thank you for sharing this beauty in receiving(and bestowing). I must admit I'm curious about the boy longing to return to school. :)

  9. And a common chicken becomes a holy offering.

    wow. this post floored me. i didn't want you to stop writing. the way you shed light on the ache of the world... please don't stop, friend. so grateful for you.

  10. Beautiful, Dawn, just beautiful. We bought chickens as Christmas gifts for relatives this year -- I just loved doing that...and the kids helped me make the selection online. Once they realized Papa wasn't going to have actual chickens running around his yard, they were on board (though disappointed!).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.