The Heart of Christmas: Gifts!

giftsI remember when I was about 7 and the only thing I cared about receiving from Santa was a Benji dog, stuffed of course. It did not matter to me if I had a bike or a Barbie. All I wanted was that stuffed dog! I was thrilled waking up on Christmas morning and finding not only that dog, but a bike and a big teddy bear I had seen at JC Penney in addition to other things I cannot even remember at this point. My parents went all out to make our Christmas gifts everything that we ever wanted and more.

As an adult, my Dad used to give us $600 per family each Christmas to purchase gifts for ourselves and our children. Our instructions were to wrap them and return with them on Christmas Eve for opening. With just 4 of us in my family at that time, I was able to buy a lot of Barbie’s and Barbie houses for three girls with $450.00. It gave me the feeling of giving my girls everything they wanted for Christmas even though I could not afford many gifts myself. It also gave my girls a Santa type experience though I never perpetuated that myth with them. I was concerned that they would be disappointed if they expected great things from Santa which I could not deliver. However, on Christmas morning they awoke to all of their toys assembled and ready to use because I had been up all night making it happen. It was my gift to them and as far as they knew, they had received more gifts while they were sleeping.

To this day, I still fill a stocking for each of my children that they usually open on Christmas morning, but more recently they have talked me in to filling them on Christmas Eve since we leave so early on Christmas morning to have breakfast at my mother’s house with my siblings and their families. They also open one gift from me on Christmas Eve, typically a pair of pajama’s they will sleep in and wear to my mothers in the morning. As simple as it is, they look forward to this gift every year. These are small tokens of my love for them, but the thing that makes it great is the joy that they express and can also be seen on their faces as they open them. It makes Christmas so special for me! There is little more important to me than for them to be happy and love to each other.

All of these gifts are symbols of the one true gift we received on the first Christmas in the form of a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger: Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift ever given to humanity; more important than any stuffed dog or Barbie my children or I ever received. Christmas is about receiving the love of Christ, a gift from God to us. It’s not about presents and material things. It’s also about giving His love to others. This year as you spend time with family and friends take time to share with them the gift of eternal life. Christ is the reason for this season and every other season of the year.


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