Remember wanting that one special thing for Christmas, back in the days when you believed it was important, back when you were a kid? Remember getting gift from far away relatives in the mail, left miraculously on the porch, there under the tree to tempt you for hours until Mom gave in and let you rip them open?

It turns out we bought Little Far Away Niece the perfect gift. I had a gem in my inbox telling be about her reaction, and I felt like I was there.

I just wanted to let you know that Little Sister opened her gift from you…I just had to tell you her reaction. Big Sister gave it to her and she looked at it… thoroughly checked the label (to make sure she knew who it was from) and started ripping it open. As she is ripping through the paper she says, “I sure hope it is a chapter book!” And much to her surprise, it was, and not only just a chapter book…a JUNIE B JONES chapter book!!! She started screaming and carrying on. You would have thought she won the kiddie lottery!!! Thank you, Sarah for the gift of the book and also for encouraging my kids to read.

Our niece is the topic of many stories, many of them beginning, “You’ll never believe what Little Sister did…” My sister-in-law is doing a great job of documenting them and saving them, so that someday, when we’re all waiting for grandkids and relying on the memories of the ones who are not-quite-THAT-grown-up-yet, we can recall them and laugh together around the big table.

I knew she’d like the book, but screaming and carrying on, winning the kiddie lottery? No. I didn’t expect that. It made me smile and I felt warm inside. Yeah, giving is better. Giving is WAY better. Especially when you get a ringer like “Thank you for the gift of the book and also for encouraging my kids to read.” (Little does she know all the books Aunt Sarah has planned for them!)

Do you think, on Christmas Day, when we open that stable door, that we’ll jump up and down when we see our Gift? Do you think, on Easter Morn, we’ll be able to say, “Thank you, God, for the gift of Your Son, and also for saving us from our sin”?

We will all get the best Gift of all on Christmas, and we only THINK we know what it is. Yeah, sure, whatever. A kid in a feed trough. But think about that. Think about how much that Kid must love you, how much His Father anticipates your jumping-up-and-down reaction, how many times He has encouraged you in your life, in seen or unseen ways. Think about what had to happen for that Kid to get into the feed trough. A young girl, who had to be scared, who had to be unsure, who wasn’t even married (in a time when that was NOT OK), had to say yes. A man, who was good and upright, ready to take this young virgin in his home only to find her…pregnant?!, had to believe and trust that the miracle would happen and agree to its terms.

We are in the home stretch before Christmas. Maybe you’re not done with your shopping yet. Maybe there’s a lot left to do and folks to feed and things to plan.

Don’t forget to spend some time admiring that Baby. They grow up so fast, you know, and I’d hate to have you miss out on the miracle of childhood and the Miracle of Christmas.