In a small school play three young boys were given the task of playing Wise Men. The teacher trying to minimize mistakes had each child remember only one word. The night of the school play each dressed in their finest costume. Their important parts were now approaching. As one made his way to the baby Jesus he held out his gift and said, “Gold”. The second child approached and said “Myrrh”, the third child gathered his present, stood before the baby Jesus and in a loud unfaltering voice said, “Frank sent this!”
Each year as the Christmas season approaches, I frequently observe like in the school play something isn’t quite right. Despite my best attempts at observing this holiday with awe and wonder, I am constantly contending with the commercialization of this blessed event. But this week I found what I was looking for.
Earlier in the week as I waited in line for the next teller at the bank, I was met with a cheery hello. When I made the comment that she was full of Christmas cheer, she replied, “Yes I am, but I have reason to be.” I said, “Really, why?” to which she replied, “I learned today from my doctor I am cancer free.” I then said, “I bet you don’t need a single present under the tree this Christmas and it will be okay with you.” She grinned ear to ear and said emphatically, “You’re right, no presents for me, I got mine early!”
Also this week a friend of mine spent a couple of thousand dollars to bring an orphan to America from Russia to experience an American Christmas for the very first time. Knowing my friend who does everything with a flair, I wonder how difficult it will be for the child to return back home after being surrounded with the kind of love she provides?
Meanwhile in Fountain Green, Utah the townspeople held their first ever Christmas light parade Wednesday. It was in honor of a resident, a 6-year-old child, who is terminally ill. Doctors told the girl’s parents this will likely be her last Christmas. One resident said, “I think it has changed the way people think about Christmas in this little town. Numerous families in the town made floats just so the child could experience a “special” Christmas. One resident responded, “It has kind of restored my faith in humanity, to see so many people pull together with this tiny little girl and this tiny little town.”
I learn the older I get it’s not the presents under the tree that’s important anymore, it’s the gift of friendship I prize the most. What would life be like for any of us if God hadn’t sent the unique people in our life that shower us with love, support, and companionship. Christmas is never supposed to be about us, it’s ALWAYS about Him (Jesus). It’s the largest birthday party in the world, shouldn’t the guest of honor get something special from everyone of us?
Opening presents as a child in Madison, Maine Christmas 1973, I hurriedly opened all my gifts and turned to my father and asked him, “Is there anymore?” I had no idea times were so lean and I hurt my Father’s feelings; he had sacrificed so much. He had given us his best and I still wanted more.
My father’s reaction must mirror the same reaction Jesus will have this Christmas. We always seem to want more, yet how much more can He give? I think this Christmas Day, I’ll be thankful for my friends cancer cure. I’ll shed a tear for the little girl who was serenaded by a town who gave her a parade, and I’ll smile for the little boy from Russia who was overwhelmed with gifts and saw Jesus in his friends the way we all should. Generous bountiful in love who offers us His undivided attention.
This Christmas as we open presents it won’t matter how many I get. I don’t have to ask, “Is there more?” Because with Jesus, I am blessed and overflowing. This is the kind of Christmas I want.