Smiles at Christmas are what we all hope for. I talked with a friend today and she is so excited about Christmas this year. She just figured out what to get for her husband and she's practically giddy with joy! She's planning just how to wrap the gift, and you can tell she's anticipating her husband's face when he opens the gift.
That's the difference, isn't it. When you have a gift for someone you love, and you know it's something special that will make their face light up with joy, you just can hardly wait for Christmas....but now that my kids are older, there simply aren't that many surprises - or smiles. Oh, my daughter would LOVE a car, but the budget just won't allow that - not even an old one. Instead, she's asked for cash so she can go shopping. Easy - but not very exciting. My son - he wants some games. Again, easy - but not too exciting. My husband...I have no clue. We probably would both be happy with a nap. See - nothing to get excited and really smile about.
I would love to see that look of absolute joy that we used to get from the kids when they were little. I watch videos of them playing with the bag the toy came in and being completely enthralled. Now it takes a lot more to get them to even crack a smile.
There have been years when the only thing I really wanted was that smile. I worked so hard to surprise and then would watch their faces to show that they knew how special the gift was. Sometimes I got it - sometimes not. They've gotten a lot tougher to buy for now that they are older. They just don't seem to notice.
That got me to thinking about how long God planned our gift on that first Christmas...He'd planned it from the beginning of time. This was no ordinary gift...God gave His treasure - His Son. I wonder if He watched the face of the shepherds and saw that joy? Did He look at the wise men bringing gifts and smile to Himself? Did He watch so many others that just went on their way, not even realizing a gift had been given? What about me? God prepared this gift for ME from the beginning of time...He anticipated giving to me and watching me receive. What does He see from me?
Perhaps the joy of Christmas that I've been missing is due to not knowing what to give...and in not realizing what I have been given. There is no doubt that Christmas is a time of giving. I just have no clue what to give...and I'm beginning to think I don't realize what I have received.
The Message (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.