In a family of 10 what’s under the tree is always interesting. We’ve found that with increasing years comes a shift from wanted items to needed items. While for the baby (now 3) it’s still mostly toys and some outfits, for the older children it’s more about needed items such as a new desk chair (don’t tell) and clothing. That of course becomes most evident with gifts designated ‘to Mom.’
In the pile for Mom are really most of the gifts for the family… a new kettle (don’t tell), soap, mugs, and the like. They’re mostly the kind of gifts that are best described as ‘for you but actually for me, or for us’ rather than really ‘for you.’ I’d like to say for Dad it’s the same but a new table tennis racquet (don’t tell I found out) wouldn’t really qualify.
We’re often told as Christians that your gifts are fleeting things and you can’t take them with you. But there is one gift you can at least try to take with you to the life hereafter. And that is the gift of children. We’ve been blessed to have one child on Christmas Day and another on the 28th so we’re always celebrating birthdays throughout Christmas.
Those gifts of life you can take with you into the afterlife – or at least give it your best shot. We’ve been successful with three children thus far (which officially makes us a family of 13), that while lost to us through miscarriage, are, as the song goes, “from the heavens to the womb to the heavens again.”
Christmas is all about accepting the Christ Child into your life, into your heart. And with every child you accept into your family you accept Christ – you clothe the naked, you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, you care for the sick, and even visit the imprisoned as the crib becomes a frequented late-night vigil spot.
With each child you welcome into your family – each gift of God you embrace – you fulfill that which Christ told us would be demanded of us to enter heaven.
Your children are truly the best gifts under your family tree. Embrace them as you would the Saviour, because as he said, ‘Whatever you do to the least you do to me.’
Thus your openness to life leads to the greatest gift. To our Lord’s final call: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
From my family to yours, dear friends, our prayers for a happy and holy Christmas.