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The Birthday Gift

It is stunningly beautiful. Soft hues of blue and yellow with bold and gentle shades of red dance to the tune of the incandescent light below its gently curved and gracefully edged form.

Over 800 pieces of hand cut glass plus 57 jewels intricately laid and wrapped in fine copper foil carefully designed and crafted into the Tiffany lamp which sits atop my end table making the whole living room come alive with elegance and old world charm.

It’s amazing to me how one thoughtfully selected addition to a room can make such a difference to its overall look and appeal.

The lamp was given to me by my husband, for my birthday. To me, it’s an heirloom that I hope will be passed from one generation to the next, not only as a reminder of my own existence, but evidence of the love between a husband and wife. I hope it will be treasured and appreciated by the one who receives it next.

As I sit and study my lamp, I am entranced by its beauty. Then a little voice inside of me whispers, “It’s just a bunch of broken glass.” And I think to myself, “How can a bunch of broken glass hold my attention for so long. Every time I look at it, I see something I hadn’t noticed before: a new color, a new shape, a slightly different pattern. As I admire my gift and let my mind wander, another bunch of broken glass floats into my imagination. I remember another parcel I received a week or so before. It would have been a beautiful, glass-covered serving dish, but it was not packed well, and the cover had broken to smithereens in transit. It was useless of course, so I never even opened its bag. I folded in the flaps of the shipping carton, taped it shut, and labeled it for return to its vendor.

I’m thankful my Tiffany lamp is far more than “just a bunch of broken glass.” I’m thankful not only for the careful design and manufacture of the lamp, but that it was also carefully packaged for transportation to its destination. My serving dish on the other hand, was quite probably well made, and it looked lovely and useful in the picture from which I ordered it. But it was not packaged well for transit. It was not adequately ready to be shipped.

My musings remind me of the beauty one person, filled with the joy of Jesus, can bring to any situation, any environment. Not because of anything we have done, but because our Father takes the broken pieces of our life, carefully cuts and shapes them so they fit His plan, and fashions them into a masterpiece of grace, love, and joy, beautiful colors for His glory.

I’m reminded of the gift of salvation that is our greatest inheritance, that is to be passed from one generation to the next, evidence of the Father’s love for us all.

I’m reminded that the devil will always try to degrade that which God has made good.

And I’m reminded that when God transforms us, we are to prepare ourselves well, so that when we go into all the world to share the gospel, the world will see, not what we were, but what, through God’s grace, we have become.

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