When I was younger, I remember asking my mom why she didn’t get as many presents for Christmas as my sisters and I did. Her response was simply, “When you get older, Christmas is about your kids.” She didn’t say it with disdain or angst. She said it with a smile, as if to say, “You’ll see. One day you’ll feel the same way.”
And she was right. I have 4 kiddos and it never fails that every single Christmas, I would much rather watch their faces light up as they open their gifts then open even one gift of my own.
When I was thinking about this curious little part of parenthood, it made me think of just how amazing it is to be the giver of gifts. Yeah, it’s awesome to be the recipient. I LOVE getting gifts…especially ones that someone put time and thought into. Those are the absolute best. But, giving the gift has its perks, too.
Just go with me here. To give a gift requires planning. It requires paying attention to the receiver. What do they like? What makes them smile or laugh?
It requires an attitude of gratitude as you think about how the right gift can portray a message such as “Thank you for being in my life.”
Then, once the gift is picked out and wrapped up in bright, festive paper, you get to wait until the day arrives to give it to the other person. Oh, waiting is hard on any given day, but it’s WAY harder when you have something amazing to give away. Feelings of anticipation and excitement fill you up on the inside and beg to be released a few days early. But, no. That feeling signifies something so important to the gift-giving process.
It represents the love you have for the person that gets the gift. Tangible love.
So when the child or the mother or the husband finally gets their hands on the present you’ve been waiting for weeks to give them, you get to watch them experience a form of love . Their expressions are so worth it. Their reactions are priceless. It’s amazing how a gift can change sullen into cheerful and downcast into hopeful. That’s what love does.
This is what God foresaw when He decided to give us the most perfect gift ever in the form of His Son. He saw a world that desperately wanted to know love. Not just hear about love from a distance but actually feel it because they’ve experienced it first hand. This is what the manger means. It means we get to be the ones whose faces light up as we recognize that the Giver of love came just for us.
And our response is so natural and pure. There’s nothing fake about it. We, then, love someone else because He loved us first. He gave the first and best gift and we get to continue that legacy of giving until our very last breath. That, my friends, is why giving is a gift in itself.
Lord, let the cycle of love continue through me and my kids as we celebrate your birth this Christmas. It’s always been about love and will always be about love. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Clearly, you think so too. Thank you, Jesus. Amen