Unbeknownst to me, a tiny box waited in the branches of the Christmas tree. One of those good-things-come-in-small-packages boxes. For me.
My favorite Christmas gift this year was in that box: a beautiful silver necklace with two charms. Knowing well my love for crosses, my husband bought me a lovely cross necklace. I oohhed and ahhed over it and immediately put it on, remarking that it looked almost like a tiny set of dog tags, proclaiming for all the world that I belong to Christ. I loved it.
And then, just a few days after Christmas, it disappeared.
Puzzled, I looked through my jewelry box. It wasn't there. I remembered what clothes I was wearing when I wore the necklace last, so I searched them, thinking it must have been snagged. It wasn't there. I searched the floor of my closet, thinking perhaps I had pulled off my sweater without removing the necklace and it might have gone flying. It wasn't there. Anxiously I searched the house. My car. It wasn't there. Panicked, I clawed through the dust in the vacuum canister. It wasn't there. Finally I inquired at Lost and Found at the grocery store, which was the only place I'd gone on the day the necklace disappeared. It wasn't there, either.
It wasn't anywhere. It was just gone.
I cried. Sobbed, really. And then I fretted for several days before finally working up the courage to tell my husband. As much as I hate to admit it, I was afraid that he would be angry at me--angry that I hadn't taken better care of his gift. I was scared that he would think me ungrateful and irresponsible. Although I've known him for so long, I doubted that he would understand. In my dismay and disappointment, I doubted him and his capacity for love and sympathy.
Then one day he asked, "Is something bothering you?" and I had to come clean. I cried while I confessed. He wasn't angry. He's not that kind of husband. He just took me in his arms and comforted me. He tenderly patted my back and reminded me that it might still turn up, that there was always hope.
I knew, though. I knew it was gone for good. I knew the situation was past redeeming.
And then, yesterday, I was doing some cleaning. You know the kind of cleaning that you put off for weeks but you know you need to accomplish and it nags at you until you finally just get it done? I finally got around to it. And as I was taking a bag of trash out to the rolling cart in the driveway, something silver caught my eye.
My necklace. There it was, lying on the concrete, miraculously untangled and unscratched. Just lying there, waiting.
It once was lost, but now it's found. And it's once again where it needs to be--clasped firmly around my neck, a silent but eloquent reminder of my identity.
I belong to the One who found me--the One who reminded me yesterday that nothing is past redeeming.