My Grown Up Christmas List

G:

The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.

And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.

As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.

You gave yourself.

Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.

Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.

Your child,

m

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Like a firefly in a jar

christmas

G:

I’m trying to be a person that relishes moments. Like catching a firefly in a jar, I want to take in the beauty of a fleeting experience by being fully present.

I’m thinking about this soak-up-experiences-like-a-sponge state of mind while the colors from a sunset streak across the sky like the atmosphere is your canvas and you’re the Master Painter. I’m thinking about this while I’m catching up with a kindred spirit through an invisible connection from my computer to hers on the other side of the world. I’m thinking about this as I’m visiting my parents’ home for the first time since Easter and we’re sitting on the couch together with no lights on except for the multi-colored glow of the Christmas tree reflecting off handmade ornaments decades old.

I’m savoring these moments as they are all special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for them and do them justice. Because important things not only need to be remembered but need to be relished in the moment.

I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent, a time when we are preparing our hearts for the coming of your Son.

I’m thinking about how I usually relish the moment that is the Advent season—cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups, white lights that look like icicles, glass ornaments, music about sleigh bells and winter wonderlands, malls with 50% off bargains, movies about humans that think they’re elves and travel to New York City and fall in love with a blonde Zooey Deschannel.

I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent and wondering how I can be more fully present in these fleeting four weeks before Christmas.

I’m stuffing my firefly jar too full of meaningless activities and sugar and shopping that I forget to embrace fully the sole light, the sole reason, inside. I want to savor this season because it’s special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for Jesus’ birthday and do it justice. I want to be the person that relishes in the anticipation of You coming to earth to dwell amongst us as a baby, Emmanuel, You are with us—the Light of the world.

Your child,

m