What do I want for Christmas?
That is an increasingly difficult question to answer as I get older. As a child it was the easiest question to answer and one that I loved to be asked. I would gladly tell anyone what toys populated my lengthy wish list. I’d write letters to Santa, tell him in person at the mall, and I’d inform my parents and grandparents at least a dozen times through the month of December.
I remember when I was very young that I wanted a Tonka truck. I got it and loved it to pieces. I don’t know how my parents did it each year, but somehow I always managed to get the toys I wanted most for Christmas. From action figures and accessories to models to bicycles, they all seemed to find their way under our Christmas tree.
Christmas was never disappointing. I think I was well into my late teens or early 20s before I actually slept all night on Christmas Eve. My parents had to set a time each Christmas morning for me and my two younger brothers to wait for before we could get them up to go open presents. It was even more agonizing when we had our hobby farm because all the animals needed to be tended to before we gathered around the tree. That usually meant feeding and milking the cow and feeding the sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, and about 200 rabbits.
Naturally, as I got older, my tastes sort of matured. I still wanted a lot of “man-cave” type things, but clothes actually worked their way into my wish list. Along with maturity came more of a desire to give than to receive. A real turning point came when my daughter was born. I was much happier showering her with gifts than I was in receiving them.
Flash forward a few years with three more kids and Christmas became much more chaotic. I suddenly had a much deeper appreciation for what my parents went through to surprise three boys each Christmas morning. It’s a real blessing to watch them unwrap their gifts and see their happy expressions, even now when they are in their teens and 20s. It has me really looking forward to the time when I can experience it with grandchildren, but that is still a long way off.
Despite all this Christmas bliss, I have to stop and remind myself what Christmas is truly all about. It’s not about giving gifts. It’s about receiving a gift – the one and only true gift that matters. It’s the gift of eternal life with God given to us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.
In the three years of Jesus’ ministry as recorded in the four gospels, he was a homeless wanderer. He had nothing but gave everything so those who believe in him and follow him can enjoy eternity in Heaven. There is no gift more precious than that.
In light of that, I’m much more grateful for the things I’ve been able to give and receive over the years. I’m thankful that I live in a nice home and drive a nice car. I have a great job that I love. More importantly, I have a loving and supportive wife and children who also share in the gift of salvation. There is no greater joy at this or any time of year than to share that gift with others.
My Christmas wish for you is to be blessed by the grace of God and the warmth of the relationships in your life. Merry Christmas everyone!
P.S. Monday was our 19th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary Sandy! I love you more each day.