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.