Have you ever received a gift that you weren’t expecting… an exciting surprise? Have you ever expected a gift and not received it… a big disappointment?

What about the gift you opened and then you wondered what you would do with it? Perhaps you were hoping a gift receipt might be included tucked somewhere in the tissue.

Christmas brings memories of gifts that brought me such joy. The acoustic steel guitar my parents bought me the year they sold their home on Grand Manan Island was by far the biggest Christmas surprise of my childhood. And the beautiful teddy bear, which I later found out was my old tattered one, restored to ‘brand new’ with some brown cuddly fabric and the sewing skill of a missionary friend.

Gifts are not complete until they are received. Giver and receiver are both an important part of the joy that comes for both participants.

The joy of giving…The joy of receiving

Our children are gifts from God. Bob and I planned on four children but difficult challenges during our second son’s delivery caused us to wonder if our family was complete. And yet, five years later our beautiful daughter arrived. We were content with three children, so we gave away all our baby furniture, clothes, bottles and toys.

We thought we were finished having children and then a surprise (perhaps shock is more accurate) pregnancy happened sixteen years after our first.

This pregnancy was very different. Considered a high-risk pregnancy, my obstetrician sent me for specific tests to determine which  hospital would be the best one in which to deliver our fourth child.

Perhaps the doctor counsellor in London, Ontario didn’t get my doctor’s orders, for his approach revealed another option.

“Do you want to continue with this pregnancy?” he asked.  Twice during our consultation after the tests, he asked the haunting question.

My mind raced.

Do I want to accept this gift of our longed-for fourth child or would I like to reject this ‘unplanned but not unwanted’ baby?

As Christmas time arrived that year, I was in my last trimester. Many thoughts filled my head. Can it really be this easy to get an abortion? Would I have made the right decision if I didn’t have a loving husband and father to our three children?

The first Christmas brought many thoughts for Mary, too. With an unplanned pregnancy that totally turned her teenage life upside down, she accepted the gift from God and our world has never been the same.

Jesus, God’s wonderful gift to this world, has been rejected by many. Still, to anyone who accepts this life-changing, heart-transforming gift, God gives the power to become His sons and daughters. What stunning thoughts to ponder.

Oh what joy came to our home when our fourth child, a son, Alexander James, arrived that cold wintry day on February 1, 1988.

On Jan 8, 2019, A.J. and his wife Jody delivered their first baby, Odin Alexander.

As we held that little one close, we marvelled at the joy, the generational blessing of choosing life.

Thanks be to God for HIS unspeakable, indescribable gift.

4 Comments

  1. Shirley Rowan on February 15, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Beautiful story

    • Ruth Coghill on February 15, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you Shirley. I’ve lived it!

  2. Gail Lott on April 7, 2020 at 6:38 am

    Thank you Ruth, for sharing your story
    With us. Gail Lott

    • Ruth Coghill on April 7, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      And thank you Gail for reading it. Blessings today as you learn and navigate our new normal!

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