Last year for Christmas, my dad and his siblings all pitched in to get my grandparents a new television. We waited until the very end of the present opening frenzy to give it to them, so all eyes were on my grandma as she broke down in tears.
I remember one of my aunts saying, “Mom, why are you crying? Don’t cry over a tv!”
She did not stop crying. She said, “I can’t help it. We’re just so blessed!”
My grandma is right (she pretty much always is). We’re an incredibly blessed family.
We all live comfortable lives, and that’s something to be thankful for. But things like new television sets are only the very surface level of what we have to be thankful for.
As my grandma is crying over a tv, I’m looking around the room. I have probably twenty odd cousins there and aunts and uncles and siblings and parents. They’re some of the goofiest people I know (as illustrated by the above attempt at getting a cute picture of grandkids in Christmas pjs). The televisions and things are nice, but these guys are the real gift.
Looking back, I can’t say I remember too many of the presents I got for Christmas as a child. There was a doll house, a giant teddy bear. A set of play food. And a basketball hoop that I think was maybe more for my dad than for me (though this was before my complete lack of athletic potential had been fully realized).
What I do remember is spending time with family and friends. I remember dipping Christmas chocolates, decorating cookies, and building really ugly gingerbread houses. I remember caroling at nursing homes and going around to see the lights. I remember sledding and building snowmen. I remember cutting out snowflakes and decorating the house.
I no longer play with any of the toys I received as a child (except the doll house because that thing is sick). The presents were nice, but they were temporary.
But the loved ones and the Christmas memories I’ve made with them are still part of my life.
Christmas is a time of year for family and friends, because they’re a real gift. And if, like me, you believe in Christ, it’s a time for drawing closer to Him, for He is another real gift. Regardless of whether you believe in Christ, this is a good time of year for developing Christ-like attributes of love, service, forgiveness, and charity.
I hope as you’re shopping for and wrapping the presents this year, you think about the real gifts you’ll be giving to others this year—your time, your attention, and your love.
Thank you all for giving me the gift of your friendship and love, however long I’ve known you. Merry Christmas!