I take it off the shelf every once in awhile. I’ll definitely pull it down a few times in the next few days. It has meaning beyond its physical and spiritual nature.
Simply touching it draws me closer to sustaining and encouraging memories. It reminds me of incredible love as well as excruciating pain.
What is it? It’s the Bible I gave my Dad as a Christmas gift in 1977. Beyond memories, it is one of only a few tangible reminders I have of him.
It’s not tattered or torn—only slightly worn. There is not a single note written in it or anything underlined. The only thing to identify it is the “James L. Akers” inscribed on the cover and the message I wrote inside.
As I wrap my hands around it, I can see his hands cradling it. I am reminded of his journey that ended 13 years ago this month. I think about my dad often. Picking up this gift I find myself wishing all the more that he would have scribbled a few words in the margins.
I am not surprised the pages are bare—he never had too much to say. He let how he lived do the talking—which was plenty. But I still wish I could leaf through the pages and read the questions he pondered and the learning’s he gleaned.
“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”
—Thomas S. Monson
Which brings me to a question.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
Goodness, all of the must have toys, gadgets and technology gifts I coveted are long gone. And if they are not gone they too will soon be made extinct by the latest and greatest innovation. Is it the same for you?
The gift that won’t wear out, expire or get replaced by newer technology is the commitment we make to impact the people we love and lead. You want to pursue creating a legacy that sustains and extends beyond your physical presence and days.
Three years ago it dawned on me that I wished my dad had shared a part of himself in the margins of this Bible I had given him. As I thought about it, I recognized I was looking at both a question and an opportunity.
How was I going to pour my love into the gifts I give?
The Gift Everyone Desperately Wants
What resulted was the creation of a gift that took 365 days to create. A special gift that I couldn’t mass-produce or give to everyone—a one-of-a-kind personal journal prepared for one person. I started with a journal for my oldest son, followed by one for my second son.
Today, I began putting the final touches on this year’s journal gift. I am excited to give this one to my nephew who’s father also passed away 13 years ago—three months before my dad. I imagined sitting along side of him talking and sharing—365 times.
Someday, maybe even today, these journals will be pulled off a bed stand or taken off a shelf. They won’t wonder as I have for these many years, “Why didn’t he scribble a few notes in the margins of his life?”
Most of us will be scouring our gift list over the next few days. Yes, making a list and checking it twice as the story goes.
As you pour over your list, think about the impact you can create with your gifts. Ask yourself, “How can I pour my love into a gift they will long remember—a gift that won’t wear out, get lost or need to be replaced.
Place yourself in this story for a moment (maybe you have a similar story), I know there is someone you could pour your heart into over the next 365 days with a journal gift of your own?
Here is the devotional I used year: