The kids marveled at staying in a hotel for the weekend (they usually do) because they love the indoor pools, the elevators, the free breakfasts, pushing buttons and opening the doors with the keys and what to wear and where to go, and so on. They purchased gifts for their big brother and sister, their brother-in-law, their aunt, each other, their nephews, and their excitement was mounting.
We got the gifts home and they even went to the store to pick out their own special wrapping paper. My oldest son (at home) wanted to wrap gifts. He set about wrapping what he purchased and I made it clear that each of them was to wrap their own gifts.
The oldest checked with his younger brother and suggested that he wrap his gifts, too. The younger brother, not wanting to tire himself out too much, agreed to the offer. The younger brother is saving his energy for the unwrapping coming up I am sure!
A problem arose when the oldest started wrapping all the presents. He wrapped something I had purchased for his sister and put his name on it. He labeled all the gifts with “from” first, and then “to” in smaller letters below that.
When I pointed out to him that he had wrapped one of my gifts, he looked confused. He thought he had purchased that and the other two gifts for his sister, instead of giving credit to his brother and me. My daughter, ever the peacemaker, told me, “It’s OK, Momma. You can just buy me another present.”
Gee, I hadn’t thought of that as an option, but I still had some shopping to do - er, I mean, Santa still needed to come.
I’m thinking of two different scriptures, here. I think of Christ hanging on that cross, looking down over the frenzied crowd below that was caught up in the momentum, and looking up into the heavens. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
My 8-year-old, caught up in the moment, was only trying to hurry Christmas along. The sooner those gifts are wrapped, the sooner Christmas will get here, right? Each and every day, his sister asks, “How many more days until Christmas?” When the answer comes a huge, groaning sigh is released. “Oooo-oh! It’s never gonna get here!”
Fortunately for parents and children alike, Christmas does have a specific day and time, and it is up to each individual family to determine the practices of opening the gifts. As Christians, we, too, are waiting for the return of Christ. Some of us are a little more excited or prepared than others. Despite countless predictions to the contrary, we do not know the date or time of His coming.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming … be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:42,44)
So, get your heart, mind, and soul wrapped up and ready to go, for in the blink of an eye… And, ah, relax. Christmas is a celebration season.