The Gift


It’s a cool December day, but thankfully, the clouds are few and the sun is bright. Long gone are the sweltering days of summer; Christmas 2018 is fast approaching, and with just a few weeks left to prepare, I find myself surprisingly astonished by how quickly another year has passed. It’s that time again to take inventory… to reflect.

Recently, I watched a profound event on television; the funeral service for former president, George H. W. Bush. Since his passing, I have heard various accounts of his one-term presidency; the failures and conquests, but for me it was far less about politics and far more about the man he was, especially to his family and friends.

Heartfelt eulogies were given, and as each person spoke, whether retelling a story from years ago about something funny he once said, or about his dedication to the American people, George’s character was so gloriously revealed. He was described as a kind and loving man who put others first, someone who cherished friendship and loyalty, and above all, family.

On the day he died, George was surrounded by family and close friends. At the funeral service, in that majestic Washington cathedral, a reverend, present in the room that fateful last day, recalled a moment he witnessed. He spoke about Bush’s longtime friend Jim Baker, who stood faithfully at the end of his bed, compassionately rubbing his dying friend’s feet. He likened it to the gesture Jesus made; washing the feet of the disciples. Overcome, Jim Baker cried when he heard the reverend’s words. It was a tender moment; it touched me deeply.

Photos of George’s youth, his days as a Navy pilot, and the many years he spent in politics were on display for the tv audience during the service, but the most impactful photos for me were those of his time with spent with family.

George and Barbara Bush in bed with some of their grandchildren including, Jenna and Barbara Bush, Pierce Bush, Marshal Bush, Jeb Bush Jr, Sam LeBlond and daughter in-law Margaret Bush at their home in Kennebunkport, Maine Aug 1987.
One photo in particular warmed my soul; it was of him and wife Barbara sitting in bed early one morning with a slew of grandchildren all vying for that coveted spot next to their grandparents. It looked like precious joyful chaos. Even though I didn’t know the Bush’s’, dare I say, it was all about family for them. *Photo credit: Bush family photos

Family, kindness, loyalty, friendship, love, …that’s the message I heard. It was like a gift of hope and peace, …of love really, all wrapped neatly within the confines of a funeral. It tugged at my emotions, filling my heart with appreciation and an inexplicable warmth; it made me want to be a better person. Who can argue that sometimes it is the simplest of messages, disguised in the most unlikely of places, that can have the most dramatic impact.

Another year may be gone, but it is what you take from it that is important. Looking back, it is the joy that should take center stage and not the times of sorrow. It is family and friends, it is kindness and generosity, it is appreciation and good intentions…it is love. Gifts come in many forms, so be vigilant; keep your minds open and your hearts will be full and warm.

May God bless you with glorious gifts now and in the new year to come.

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