An email. Markers and a notebook. A cassette tape of songs.

‘Tis the season for gift giving. Throughout the years, I’ve received many wonderful gifts. Many of them lavish even, like my camera. And the camera before that. And the camera before that. And the camera before that.

But my favorite gifts are the ones that tell me I’m known, not just loved and appreciated, but actually known on a deep, personal level.

I just celebrated a birthday. And a dear friend far away sent me an email: 26 things she loves about me. Among them, my nose ring, my snowboard apparel and my ability to produce adorable children. And then she mentioned my loyalty, practicality and genuineness in relationships. And I love that this isn’t a gift of tangible measures. It didn’t cost a penny. But it involved her time, her thoughts. And it told me that I am known.

Last Christmas after the initial hubbub of present unwrapping, my mom presented some special packages. When I opened mine, I found markers and a notebook. Surely, these items didn’t cost that much. (Although, the notebook was quite cute and the markers were fabulous.) On the previous Christmas we discussed what career we’d choose if we started all over again. And my mom remembered. For me, it was writing. So she gave me a notebook and markers to jot down my thoughts. And it told me that I am known.

Long ago when I was just a wee child with Laura Ingalls Wilder braids in my hair, my dad made a cassette tape for me. It contained all the music from the previous summer’s Vacation Bible School. Anyone who’s actually heard me sing knows it’s not my strong suite. But if you know me well (or knew me as a child), you know that I love to sing. I used to compose my own songs for my stuffed animal plays. And in the car, I would sing to myself. So my dad gave me a cassette tape filled with songs I knew, so I could sing along all year long. I’m sure my brother didn’t appreciate it, but it told me that I was known.

Gift giving has always made sense as part of the Christmas season. After all, we are celebrating the gift of Christ, when God sent a little baby to live through life as we all do – the gift of being known.

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