Some years ago, my daughter and another girl attended the same primary school.
The girl was invited to come to my daughter’s birthday party and, as she came from a family with little money, made a gift out of paper rather than buying one.
She handed it over with some embarrassment at the party, as all the other gifts were shop bought.
When they went to separate middle schools, they lost touch for the next four years.
They met again when attending the same upper school and the friend came to our house again.
She was shocked and surprised to see that her gift had been treasured and was on display in my daughter’s bedroom.
I wonder if, 2,000 years ago, the shepherds experienced similar discomfort at turning up in the stable to see Jesus when others had brought expensive presents.
Much later in Luke’s gospel (chapter 21), we are told that a poor widow gave a few coins to the temple treasury; much less than other wealthier people making donations at the same time.
But it was her giving that caused Jesus to comment positively to the disciples, as she gave from what little she had.
The richer people gave – with more of an eye to being noticed – large amounts.
Both Jesus, in the biblical story, and my daughter more recently, looked into the heart of the giver and therefore saw the value that was greater than simple pounds and pence.
As we give and receive this Christmas, may we seek to have the widow’s heart. That way, we may find our gifts still treasured in years to come.