Don’t be deceived… Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. James 1:16-17 NIV

As a child on Valentine’s Day, as the evening arrived and darkness crept in, I stopped playing and listened intently for a knock on the front door. Sometimes, it was so faint I could barely hear it above the thumping of my heart. Other times, the loud hammering made me jump violently. Then, I would charge to the door, along with my three brothers, and fling it open.

A small parcel wrapped in plain brown paper tied with string would be sitting on the doorstep. The ends of the string disappeared into the shadows.

Valentine’s Day gift

As the four of us went to grab the package, it would jerk quickly away from us. It was a challenge to seize the jumping bundle before it skipped off into the night. However, with fumbling fingers we freed the parcel from the string determined to tug it from our arms.

I was excited to see my name scrawled on the wrapper. Before I had time to discover what was inside, another knock came on the door. Again, we ran to struggle with yet another fidgety package.

This unusual kind of Valentine’s Day gift giving carried on throughout the evening until each member of the family had received a present.

The custom, I discovered, is specific to where I grew up in Norfolk on the east coast of Britain. I decided to carry on this tradition with my three children in America. Somehow the magic never transferred. When Father Valentine came knocking on our door bearing gifts in the darkness, my sons and daughter refused to go to the door and hid behind my legs instead.

Sometimes we behave like my children, and miss out on the gifts God gives us.

We focus on and become frightened by the darkness—illness, tragedy and violence. Sometimes, we mistake them as God’s doing, or doubt God’s goodness, rather than attributing them to evil in the world. So when God knocks at our door during the gloom, wanting to express his love and deliver good gifts—a phone call from a friend, a hug from a child, or a warm home on a snow day—we don’t reach out to enjoy them.

If only my children had managed to put aside their fear and had captured the gifts delivered by Father Valentine, the night would have been memorable.

Are you focusing on the shadows instead of grasping the gifts God has placed in your life?

sunlight in a dark sky


  • Rachel,
    I love that name! Often I have been touched by your writing. It was only tonight that I ‘saw’ I could leave a comment.
    Then I read that you are a blogger and author and speaker; I thought, ah ha! no wonder she writes so beautifully, that’s her profession! I thought you were a gifted admin who wrote for one of the staff. I’m sorry if that thought offends you. No harm intended. Just wanted you to have the back ground on where I was coming from.
    You ARE a gifted writer and so many times I have been moved, inspired, encouraged by your writings. I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner. Clearly you are walking in Gods design for your life, using His gifts to enrich others lives. I know your words have so often enriched mine. Thank you for all you do!

    Warm regards

    • Lisa, thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement. I will keep writing knowing that God can use my words because of what you’ve told me. I’ve read your comment twice because it’s so lovely. No, I’m not offended at all. Thank you for your beautiful words.

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