Words of Micah: “I like it when adults share their things with me. It makes me feel awesome.” These words struck me and I pondered them over the course of the weekend.
Saturday morning I was trying to tuck up some things for the crisis nursery work before we headed out of town. Micah was so eager to get into the car that he kept coming in and out of my office. Suddenly, he gasped when he saw a small digital camera in a box. “Will you let me use this camera?” he asked hopefully. “Why, sure,” I replied (and then of course thought about the fact that Christmas is just weeks away and wouldn’t it be great if I had thought of giving it to him for Christmas!).
His excitement of being able to share in the grown-up world with “grown-up things” runs through my mind. We are in the season of giving as we enter the month of December and I always work so hard trying to find “great” gifts for people because it’s so much fun to see their joy. What it is, though, is that I feel good when I make someone else feel good…..when I give, and someone feels “awesome” because of that. How wonderful to be able to do that for a child.
So this past weekend, I gave the boys the “gift” of tradition. Since at least 1996, I have driven to a small town east of Cleveland to visit one of my best friends from college. Her best friend from high school joins us in making Christmas cookies (2260 cookies this year!). Years later, the group that gathers has grown to between 25 and 30 people and many of them are our children. It’s such a great day for the boys. They run around
and play with the other children. They taste-test triple chocolate cookies, hazelnut shortbread, coconut pyramids, decorated sugar cookies, chocolate crinkles and chocolate espresso cookies, peanut butter blossums, thumbprints, kolaches, and so many more (probably the only day of the year that I’m not constantly saying “no more treats!”). They stay up as late as their bodies can survive and then wake up as early as possible the next morning to continue to marvel in the abundance of new-to-them toys! They love this day….and it is my gift to them to create such traditions.
Naturally, there are so many gifts that I give to my boys – not even thinking about the upcoming swarm of Christmas presents they’ll find under the tree in two weeks. As I trudged back upstairs with Micah just now at 11:22 pm, I realized that in agreeing to stay “just one minute” more with him as he drifted back to sleep, I was gifting him with some time (a pretty precious commodity which is not always my strong suit in gift-giving!).
There are many gifts that other people give to my boys as well – love and attention from
grandparents and other family members, care and education from their teachers and day care workers, and the gift of attention from the men at Cookie Day who wrestled with the boys, threw balls, exclaimed happily at a new skill, and rustled their hair. I thank these men for the gift of making my boys feel special.
And there are many gifts my sons bestow upon me – slobber and snot on my work clothes first thing in the morning, painful cheek from being accidentally whacked across the face, and of course, the favorite gifts of bodily fluids spewing onto floors and carpets in the most unexpectant and triumphant of fashion.
The best gift, though, came from one particular woman…. Miss Hannah …. who carried each boy in her heart and her womb for 9 months and then walked away so that they would experience a new life in my heart. As I contemplate this most wondrous of gifts, I consider the greatest gift of all – the reason we celebrate this time of year, the reason we give so many gifts, the reason we live at all – the newborn in the manger.