Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Most Special Christmas!

I decided to share a special Christmas memory with you because one of the things I have noticed over the years is that we tend to give our loved ones the gifts we wish someone had given us. So we buy our granddaughters a doll that we think is beautiful when they really had their heart set on a movie or give our sons a watch when they really yearned for a ticket to a football game. And the message that we send is that we didn't listen close enough when they told us what they were wishing for and that we didn't know them well enough to know their fondest dreams or what brings them joy. One year two people heard me with their hearts and gave me a Christmas memory that I still think about after forty six years.

I was eleven years old and feeling so mature because the next fall I would be entering junior high school and would have seven different teachers a day and riding a bus three miles to school. I was growing up. When Daddy asked me what I wanted for Christmas I gave him a big spiel about how badly I needed a watch so I would know how many minutes I had left in a class before it was time to go to the next one. He gave me a speech (while I rolled my eyes) that I was not mature enough to take proper care of an expensive watch, that I wouldn't keep it out of water, put it in a safe place when I took it off, on and on and on he went. Then he asked what else would I like since a watch would not be suitable for a child. Trying to show my maturity I explained that what I really wanted was my very own Bible, one that zipped and had my name on it. Again he explained that I wasn't ready for such a sacred book, that he had seen over the years where I had scribbled in books and until I was mature enough to know that a Bible or any other book should be treated with respect, he could not provide me with a Bible. He explained how rare books had been when he was growing up and how he had built a library at our house for me to enjoy (my eyes were rolling again) but no, I was not mature enough for my own Bible. I was hurt. He couldn't see just how mature I had become. After all I was eleven and so in my most mature way I stormed from the room!!

Christmas morning came. I got up before the rest of the family and went into the dark living room and plugged in the tree. There were tons of packages under the tree and the room was full of wonder. A warm glow from the lights on the tree added to the magic. Soon the family joined me and the wonderful sounds of "oohs" and "ahhs" filled the room when the sounds of tearing paper began. It was a wonderful time and I received a lot of wonderful gifts and the most special one of all came in a small white envelope. It was from my aunt Ollie, she had no husband or children and not much money. Inside the envelope there was a $10 bill (what amount would that be today?} and on a torn piece of notebook paper in pencil she had written the words, "for what you had wanted in your heart but no one knew what it was to buy it". Tears filled my eyes then as they do even today as I remember her love and insight. We all want someone to know that what we want in our heart matters .

All the presents were unwrapped and we were ready for breakfast. As soon as we were through eating Daddy said he wanted to talk to be alone in the den. I followed him there my heart beating rapidly. He started talking to me about the mistake he had made when he had judged me so harshly about what I had wanted for Christmas. He said he had thought it over and had decided I was about the most mature eleven year old he had ever known and he handled me two wrapped packages. The first was a beautiful watch with thin black cord straps. He showed me how to set it, wind it and had me listen to the fine ticking sound. Then he told me to open the last present. It was a wonderful Bible, white leather with my name printed in gold. He took great care to show me how Jesus' words were written in red. He had made sure this Bible had a concordance and showed me how to use it. He explained what a fantastic tool it would be for me to use all of my life . And then he showed me where he had written my name inside along with it being given in great love to me from him and Mother, and the date. He held me tight as I cried and promised him I would treasure them always and take really good care of them. I have kept that promise. He knew I would.

An aunt who knew that a child had unknown wishes, a Daddy who knew what an important impact his faith in me could make, made a Christmas memory that has lasted a lifetime. It is the intent of the giver that gives the gift its value, isn't it?

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