So, if this is the season for giving and joy, my admission and confession is that I have come to suck at Christmas gift shopping and I didn’t do much better this year than I did last year, although I am coming to grips with just how bad I am at it and how much I wish I wasn’t.
It’s not from lack of training in gifting that I suffer from. My mother made me stop and wonder at the way I felt, way down deep, deep in my soul, when I did something, really did something for someone else. “Giving someone is going to cost you,” Janet, my Dad directed.
This Christmas, more than last, struck dumb with lack of imagination, I mostly gave over to inaction and small tokens, waiting for inspiration, even a divine one, to hit me and move me to the mall.
It never happened.
So here I sit, in the aftermath of it all, in the never-never land between Christmas and New Year’s, knowing that any confession will not be complete unless I confide to you, from the other side of this Christmas gifting: the receiving.
It seems my family doesn’t (and never really has) suffered from my Christmas-is-for-children syndrome.
I got presents from them, that it was clear, cost them and that they hoped would make the joy of belief shine in my eyes, so they could see it.
It humbles me. Their hearts humble me. Their love humbles me.
Because for a son who is among those young people looking for a job in a difficult economy, for another whose generous largess comes in the form of combat pay and tax dollars in a nation he prays for a peace he does not comprehend, and the other, whose generous spirit and to whom the joy of Christmas came easy and remains alive among us as he surely is in Heaven, their own search for joy clearly means giving to another.
This Christmas it meant giving to me.
It’s not the gift of course, this one of fine opticals and mechanical beauty. It’s what those sons of mine suspect or hope might spring from it and me and the sharing of photographs that might capture life and love and for some moments, preserved in time and space, make mere words unnecessary.
I hope I do this gift of theirs justice. I pray that I do.
Because it’s the gift of them and who they are that make me, in childlike wonder, stare at my Christmas tree this Happy Monday morning, with lights twinkling, made more so by the tears of a mother whose heart cannot be more joyful as she marvels at the shape of human kindness and generosity of spirit in the form of sons.
It’s a strange thing, joy.
The I am grateful, corollary: What better gift than a Creator, who knowing what his children need, despite what they, childlike and temporal in their wants might ask for, would give the gift of a perfect Son, the Son of man, promising what we all can cling to. How wonderful. How marvelous.
I wonder at His joy when He sees the childlike wonder of trust and faith in our eyes because of Him.