The clock was about to strike midnight. Everything was dark except for one small candle, and no sounds were heard unless you count the sweat running down a back. Even the scurry of possible mice wasn’t audible, and the falling snow outside muffled the sounds of any traffic that might be on the road. Everyone was in their “nightcaps,” in bed asleep. Finally, putting the last screw into the board and silently inserting the Phillips screwdriver, dad tightened the little dolly bed–wishing he could go crawl into his big one. There was still one more toy to be assembled and the gifts under the tree would be finished. The small Christmas plate that held a chocolate chip cookie beside a tall glass of milk was ready in its place. Dad glanced at his watch, hoping to get at least four hours of sleep before four excited children ran downstairs to see what Santa had left. He tried not to think about the money spent, the time lost in assembling toys, and just be happy that he had checked everything off their small lists.
Dad didn’t get grumpy, but as he finished his task he couldn’t help but think of the “glory” that “Santa” would get in the morning as his children saw their gifts! It’s quite unfair, he thought! They should know that he and their mom loved them far more than some “mystical” person who had attributes including flying all over the entire world in one night, delivering toys. They should get the credit for the toys! Why had they taught them this? But being tired, knowing his thoughts came from exhaustion, he put them aside, finished, and went to bed.
So, you ask, what’s the point? Every story should have a moral, right? Truthfully I’ve always hated the idea of Santa, simply because children in single parent homes are at the mercy of strangers who don’t know them, or Angel Tree gifts–which are great, of course, but how many children get nothing? How do they feel? Here it is, a hot July day, and I’m frustrating over Santa. Good grief.
My point is, often the true giver of our gifts is never recognized. How many wonderful things happen to us and we don’t stop to think where they came from? A narrow escape from a near-accident with the car; a visit from a friend; a kind word from a stranger? And have you ever thought about how many things would take off as ideas to be embellished or considered worthy of the masses if they were written in any book besides the Bible? James, chapter 1, tells us that “EVERY good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights, in Whom there is no shadow of turning.” And we call it luck, chance, or being in the right place at the right time.
An illustration in point: I have missed my mom exceedingly these past several months. Not as the person she became in dementia, but as the person I talked to most of my life. She was, for sure, my best friend. Maybe she didn’t always understand me, but she loved me, just as she loved my sister to the end. I often ask God if He will tell her I said “Hello,” and maybe tell her how much I miss her, but that I’m so happy every time I think of her happiness in the presence of the Lord. (“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8) Two nights ago I dreamed of her–it seemed like a long dream. It wasn’t a dream of her body with dementia, but the person I had known. It was a GIFT from my loving heavenly Father almost like a visit. I woke, not feeling sad that she wasn’t there, but glad that I had had a time of being “with her” in her former state.
“Oh, that’s crazy,” you might say. We dream based on things that are happening in our lives. True. But this was a “good and perfect gift” of a visit with my mom. It was wonderful to hear her voice in the dream, and see her happy in whatever situation the dream held–I don’t even recall it. All I know is, my God gave me a time of remembering my mom so that I enjoyed her, and loved her.
I don’t want to attribute that to a “Santa-like” coincidence, chance, exhaustion, or anything else except the God who watches over me. Why should He not get credit for the great things He does for us?
Thank You, Father, for the gifts You give me.
Love, Your child.