“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17 NIV).
Shortly after Christmas, my father called. “Mom needs new shoes. Would you take her shopping?”
I agreed, and we set a date. Mom, now in her mid-eighties, wasn’t spry, so shopping with her would be slow. Since she didn’t relish shopping or spending money, I knew this trip was more of a necessity than a fun mother-daughter outing. Yet throughout my childhood, Mom had always been patient while taking me shopping. Now the shoe was on the other foot, literally.
A few days later, I picked up Mom and drove to a nearby shopping center. I parked close to the mall entrance so she wouldn’t have far to walk. We shopped at several stores, and Mom tried on one pair of shoes after another. With corns on her different-sized flat feet, finding comfortable shoes was a challenge. (We certainly couldn’t consider shoes like she bought me as a teen: flashy red flats or three-inch spiked high heels.) Finally, Mom found a pair of basic black, low-heeled slip-ons that suited her. Package in hand, I took her arm, and we started back to the car.
Along the way, we passed a yarn and stitchery shop holding an after-Christmas sale. On a discount table outside the store, I spied a crewel-embroidered nativity scene framed in handsome walnut. It was just like the one I had admired in my sister’s home. I had wanted to stitch one for myself but never found the time. Now the completed stitchery cost less than the original kit. I felt like God was smiling at me and whispering, “I knew you wanted it and saved it just for you.”
As we trudged to the car, weary from shopping, both of us carried parcels and wore contented smiles. It had turned out to be a nice mother-daughter time after all.
Later, admiring the detailed stitches on my new treasure, I realized if I hadn’t taken Mom shopping, I wouldn’t have found this bargain. While meeting the needs of my godly mother, God surprised me with a gift from above.
Mom doesn’t wear her new shoes anymore. She doesn’t need them in heaven. But each year as I hang my cherished nativity in our home, I recall our shopping trip and the sweet surprise of God’s after-Christmas gift to me.
About Lydia Harris
Lydia E. Harris is happily married to Milt, her sweetheart for 48 years. She has two married children, five grandkids, and is the author of a Bible study, "Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting" (AMG Publishers, 2010 release). She's also a tea enthusiast and writes the column "A Cup of Tea with Lydia."