LOUISE: The Last Gift
In years past, our family always
decorated a 7-foot Christmas tree in the living room with dozens of ornaments.
Afterwards, Jay would trim a smaller tree in the family room especially to his
liking. But last year, the first without my husband, we put up only Jay’s tree.
It was lovely, and as I sat admiring it, I thought to myself, “Without Carl,
who will buy that last Christmas gift?” Don’t know what I mean? Let me tell you
a Christmas story that became a tradition in our home.
Growing up an only child, Carl
thought Christmas was all about him since he was showered with presents from
aunts, uncles, neighbors, parents and especially Santa Claus. I, on the other
hand, was one of six children. I could expect a gift from my grandparents,
parents, Santa and one sibling (we drew names to see who would receive our
small token of love).
When our children were born, I
thought the way I celebrated Christmas was the norm. Carl and I, now Mom and
Dad, would buy Aaron, our first-born, a gift or two and Santa would leave the
same. Oh no! Not the way Carl would have it. Aaron should be lavished with
presents since that’s how Carl grew up. We finally compromised on what to give
our 9-month-old son, but on Christmas Eve, Carl just had to buy “one more
gift.” It makes me smile to think about it now because I had no idea it would
become a tradition that would last a lifetime.
As our family grew, it was always
the same. We decided on what to get the kids from Mom and Dad, as well as
Santa. Invariably, on Christmas Eve, Carl would add “one more gift” to each
stack of presents. When grandkids came along, he did the same. Carl loved
making his yearly jaunt to the stores on Christmas Eve to see what great
bargains he could find for that “last gift” to put under the tree. The surprise
of his shopping event left years ago and I actually looked forward to seeing
what Carl chose. I often teased him about his tradition, but in truth, it was
also a gift to me, just seeing the excitement and love in my husband’s eyes.
And without realizing it, I believe it was even a gift to himself because he
enjoyed it so much.
In my journal from our last
Christmas together, I wrote, I got everything I wanted for Christmas—my family
together, a wonderful Christmas and for my family. I’m glad I recognized what a
precious gift we received that year, having no idea that Carl and I would never
spend another holiday together.
Last year, Christmas was extremely
difficult for me and I missed that “last gift” from my husband. Then I realized
that Carl had actually given me that gift on the day he was diagnosed with
pancreatic cancer when he circled his arms around me and said, “We need to
agree on one thing. From this day forward, everything will be done for the
glory of God.” His words and actions spoke volumes. Live life well! Give and
receive love! Bring honor and glory to God!
Carl recognized that life is a gift
to be lived and enjoyed with those we love. And as I sat pondering his
Christmas Eve tradition, I realized Carl’s love was his “last gift” to his
family. Not tangible but eternal.
I miss my husband with all of my
heart. He will always be
a champion of love, honor and faith
to me. And during this holiday season, I think Carl would like for me to pass
on his message to you. Live and love well. Glorify God. It may be the last gift
Wishing you a
About the Author
Tucker Jones is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. Author and
co-author of four books, her work has been featured in numerous publications.
Contact her at LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.