As a child I would set an alarm on Christmas morning. My parents would tell all of us kids that we could not get up before 8AM (usually because my dad would spend half the night putting something together), but I knew if I was awake they would feel bad staying in bed and would come out earlier. I could not wait to open those presents. I knew my parents loved me and one of the ways they showed it was through gifts. My family was not what most would call wealthy, but my parents gave good gifts. They spent more than they probably should have, but they wanted us to know how much they loved us in tangible ways. Yes, they showed us love in all other kinds of ways, but they wanted Christmas to be a time they tangibly showed us their love.
The years have passed since the days I set an alarm on Christmas morning. Partly this change came because I now know that the presents are still there whenever I wake. The change also came because today I know that my own kids will wake me up and there is no need for an alarm! I do have a confession, I still really like to receive presents! My taste in gifts has changed and I have learned the value of gift cards, but I still really like to receive gifts (it’s a good thing my wife is a good gift giver). There is something powerful when you know someone cared enough to give you a gift.
One of the greatest pleasures of a father is to see your child’s face when they open a present. To see their smile, joy, and excitement is something that leaves you feeling great. The great thing for us today is our kids don’t have a clue how much stuff costs and the more boxes they see the better, which is cheaper than it will be someday when there are fewer boxes!
One of the things about this Christmas season that has me thinking as we finish our Christmas shopping is the way in which Christmas is really the greatest gift any of us receive. I know in some sense we give gifts because the wise men gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but God gave the best he could give. He gave Jesus. This great gift was the untamable, relentless loving God in the flesh. It was God incarnate. In Jesus God gave us the best he had to offer. Our Heavenly Father is no different than my father or maybe yours, they all want the best for us. The greatest joy of our Father is that we choose to embrace the gift of His Son…for us to be welcomed into His family.
The question I am wrestling with this Christmas season is this, “Have I given God all of me?” The best gift I have to give back to him is all of me. It is all of my finances, it is my family, it is my heart and life. Does God have every aspect of my life, or am I holding some things back? God the Father is clear that he gave Jesus for us. He gave his best present, He gave his all. Am I? Are you?