Children of Christmas

“Like a kid at Christmas.

 

If you have children, you know how excited they get at this time of year. 

 

If your children are grown, you remember how excited they got at Christmas.

 

And even a geezer like myself remembers how excited I got at Christmas when I was a child. 

 

I would count the days. I literally found it almost impossible to wait to find out what was in those presents under the tree.

 

Naughty kids like me would sneak over to the tree and try and guess what was in those brightly-wrapped packages. Sometimes, if I thought no one was looking, I’d pick the package up and shake it to see if I could guess what was inside. (No rattle at all meant it was probably a shirt or pants or –worse yet– socks and/or underwear.)

 

Very naughty kids (Yes, also me.) one time even carefully tried to peel the tape back when mom and dad were gone and partially unwrap the gift to verify that it was indeed that BB gun I had been whining about forever. Very naughty kids like me also had a mom who could clearly see the tape was no longer sticking like it should have been and publicly busted me for being a Christmas weasel.

 

Looking back, if I had been the parent who caught my dearly-loved child pre-unwrapping his Daisy Red Ryder, I would have been tempted to remove the gun, fill the box with socks and underwear, and rewrap it. 

 

Merry Christmas, you little weasel.

 

That I was actually allowed to finish unwrapping and keep the coveted gun come Christmas morning can only be attributed to the grace of the Spirit of Christmas working on the souls of my parents. They had no reason to show mercy. What kind of parent allows the kind of kid who peeks at his Christmas presents to keep a gun, of all things!

 

I would have been much, much tougher on myself.

 

In point of fact, I have been. Looking back on it approximately a half-century later, I still harbor significant guilt over that nefarious episode of Christmas criminality. 

 

And maybe that’s why Christmas isn’t as exciting for adults as it is for children.

 

Sure, it’s easy to argue that our materialistic little offspring may be more excited because they’re going to make a hauling off of Christmas like the grand-prize winner on the game show of the century –but little weasels like me actually thought we had been good enough to receive these lavish outpourings of affection.

 

While we were told that Santa’s elves had been watching us all year long and he knew whether we had been naughty or nice, no kid I ever knew got a lump of coal on Christmas morning.

 

Not one.

 

Come to think of it, it seems to me that the more spoiled rotten little brat a kid was, the more the likelihood that his Christmas booty would far exceed my own.

  

That Santa guy is a push-over.

 

But as we age, that stuff in those bright packages becomes just stuff. When you are no longer dependent on your parents to provide your every need and desire, what could possibly be under that tree that you could not just go out and buy for yourself if you really wanted to? 

 

The older I get, the more I am told I am “hard to buy for.”

 

Guilty as charged. 

 

There’s nothing I absolutely need that I don’t already have. I’ve already got all the cool toys. 

 

Truthfully, I’ve got too much stuff. There’s stuff I don’t even remember I have until I go digging through my stuff and happen across other stuff I’d forgotten I had. After three hours of digging through my stuff, and repeatedly saying to myself, “Oh yeah, I  forgot I even had this thing” I get to the point that I’ve forgotten what I was looking for in the first place. 

 

This is why people get me gift cards for Christmas. 

 

And I can’t blame them. I have a gift card to a pizza place in my wallet right now that I’m pretty sure is old enough to vote.

 

(A donation to a ministry I love is a great gift. I know some folks with a Christian radio station ministry who do wonderful things.)

 

But the point is, as we grow older and we get past coveting stuff, Christmas starts to take on a deeper, more glorious excitement. Although I would have never believed it as a child, there is a far greater joy to Christmas than a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

 

That joy is that God himself took on flesh and came to this world as a helpless baby to save me from my sins.

 

The very concept that Jesus would come to this earth and die on a cross to give the gift of undeserved and unearned forgiveness to a weasel who would peek at his own Christmas present (and later on in life do much, much worse) is mind-boggling. 

 

That the free gift of this forgiveness would include acceptance and adoption into the family of God as his own dear child, an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life with him rattles the depths of my very soul.

 

And the gifts don’t stop there. I am also given the gift of His own Holy Spirit living in me, guiding me and helping me. I am wrapped in a love so wide, so long, so high, so deep it is beyond my ability to describe or comprehend. 

 

I find a God who came into this world not to condemn a weasel like me, but to save me. 

 

I find I am a child of Christmas. 

 

Today’s Praise

“Glory to God in highest heaven,

and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14 (NLT)

 

 

 

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