My daughter has been attending church regularly with my parents for the past several months. Despite the fact that this church does not feel like a good fit for me, I have let her go and encouraged her involvement. She has had some iffy experiences but overall has loved her time there. More than that, she has made a good friend--the pastor's daughter.
The pastor and his wife are a wonderful couple with a rich history. Both are originally from Korea but moved to the United States for various reasons. He initially pursued a career in opera, and she supported him by managing his schedule and work before he entered the seminary. They lived in New York City for nearly ten years before finding a different calling, one completely foreign to their families and cultures.
This couple has made a wonderful impression on our entire family. I enjoy speaking with both of them every chance I get. Moreover, they have a daughter a year older than mine, and both girls enjoy each other's company. The pastor's daughter is extremely bright and musically gifted, much like both of her parents. She is an amazingly talented pianist given her age as well as playing in the orchestra. She is smart and has excellent behavior and seems to make great choices nearly all the time.
As you may have guessed, I can hope that this child's natural self will impact my somewhat-impulsive, loud, fully-embarce-the-world daughter. But perhaps for now, it's exactly as it should be--both girls enjoying the others' company.
Today when my daughter came home from church, the first thing she told me was how her friend's mother, the pastor's wife, had made her a present. She was wearing it. It was a simple crocheted flower attached to a hairband, the kind of thing that most of us would have overlooked. But not my daughter. She had wrapped it into her hair as soon as she had opened it, and wore it the rest of the day. The present from her friend and her mother--this homemade present--meant the world to her.
It doesn't take some sort of genius to figure out why. Somebody put time and effort into making something for her. Somebody told her, through actions, "I care about you and I want you to know I'm thinking about you at Christmas."
It's very easy to get caught up in the trimmings and trappings (thank you, Mr. Grinch) of Christmas. So I challenge you to give your child--or anyone in your life--something simple and homemade. Something that says, "I love you and I thought and cared about you enough to invest some time and energy into you."
I won't be surprised at all if my daughter's hair is adorned with a crocheted flower for several days.