A Gift to Remember

 

 
Let me start by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and of course a Happy, Prosperous, Joyous, Thankful and a heart full of Forgiveness New Year.
Right now you’re probably asking yourself what was that all about. Well, I would like to share something that happened in my life with you. This is my Christmas gift to you.
It was a family reunion in the nineties. No, it wasn't Christmas but when it was all said and done it felt like Christmas to me. The reunion was on my dad’s side. Despite the desire to go to the Kootneys in British Columbia, spend time with siblings, see my dad and other members of the family, I actually dreaded running into a particular member of the family. This was my aunt my dad’s oldest sister.
A little background:
As a preteen back in the 60's my family was in the middle of once more another breakup that saw my two younger sisters being sent to one aunt and my younger brother and I being sent to this particular aunt. In most circumstances teens and preteens are emotional time bombs at best what with puberty, acne, and self-image problems to say the least. In my particular case I was an Atom bomb ready to blow given the extra set of circumstances I was dealing with. 
Needless to say I needed someone to blame for all the trouble in my life at the time. I felt rejected by my mother, my dad couldn't get his act together and once more the relatives were left holding the bag. Therefore my aunt became the brunt of my distain. One demand or slightly harsh word and that’s all it took,” Tick and boom.” Unfortunately that short stay would take me from distain to grudge, to bitterness that would go on for 37 years. Every time I was in the presence of this particular aunt, which were seldom, memories of that time so long ago came flooding back. I became angry and upset all over again. Here I was, returning to those sordid memories. No one understood why I would get so worked up at these times, and quite frankly neither did I.
My dad has always been known as the black sheep of the family. Whenever there was a get together family members would say to us kids "oh, you poor kids, what you all went through in your lives." I am sure my dad felt the pain of the past over and over again whenever he heard that.
At this particular reunion my siblings and I had a heart for our dad and decided that we were going to honor him with a gift. My dad loved to sing and he loved it when we would sing, so our gift was two songs honoring him. He was very touched by this and I could see other family members were as well. This was not only a gift for him but one for us also. It was a great privilege and joy to honor our dad after all those years. 
In the meantime the reunion was winding down to a close and I had avoided my aunt at all costs. Still feeling a bitterness towards her I was talking to God about it, when I heard in my spirit How long are you going to hold this grudge, your aunt is 79 years old , who knows how long she will be with us." "Do you want her to go to her grave having never resolved the ill feelings you have harbored against her?" To this I said "no, but what can I do about it?" I believe he told me to ask my aunt for forgiveness, to which I protested "why on earth would I ask her for forgiveness, I'm the one who’s been wronged here." I believe God being the wise one he is said to me “because you have held unforgiveness in your heart against her, you need to be forgiven also." I got it.... Of course I said I would obey and do as he had requested but he would need to help me because I really didn't want to do that.
Later that day relatives gathered to meet saying their goodbyes. I spotted her sitting alone. Fear rose up in me at that moment so I asked God to help me and stepped out in faith believing he would and approached her. I sat down next to her and looked at her and she looked at me. I opened my mouth and with the words coming slowly, I started. I need to say something to you aunty to which she replied, "ok". I said, “I need to ask you for forgiveness for holding things against you these past 37 years." Tears were welling up in my eyes. She looked at me with tears in her eyes also and said, "Honey I forgave you a long time ago." At that moment both crying we embraced and hugged each other tight. Other members of the family of course were looking at us in confusion at our outward display, but we didn't care we were united once again. Bitterness had gone and a great love for each other had replaced it. It was like getting a glimpse of heaven that day.
Everyone said their goodbyes and I went off with a peace and joy I had not known. The gift of forgiveness had been the perfect gift that day and it wasn't even Christmas.
 We drove off and upon coming to Cranbrook the Lord let me in on another secret. He said in my spirit, "You know Bonnie you were never really angry with your aunt, you were angry with your mom, you could not bear or face being angry with her so you misdirected your anger onto your aunt." I knew then there were more forgiving moments to come and they did. My mother bless her heart has since passed on but we did have our forgiving moment. Many great and wonderful blessings came out of that one family reunion of which I would need to write a book to tell you about them all. One thing I can tell you however, is out of Forgiveness came Love. 
In telling you this story, I guess what I want to do is encourage you. There are gifts ever so precious to give, ones that will not only make a difference in your life but in the lives of others, and a gift that will last a lifetime.
Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can give with Love being the greatest. Through forgiveness love finds its way to your heart and others. 
Remember, the Lord’s Prayer.... "Forgive us as we forgive others"..... 
GIVE THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS THIS SEASON AND WATCH LOVE BLOOM
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