It’s amazing to me how my life has changed over the years. I have two spoiled rotten little boys. This year for Christmas my wife and I had decided to go very simple. On black Friday we bought some books and board games for our 3 and 5 year olds. Only about 3 presents each and nothing for each other. We figured they have enough things and we are very blessed. “Let’s focus on that” we thought. But as Christmas got closer the excitement of presents got a hold of both of us. Even the grocery store had toys stacked strategically to excite our children. One day while picking up antibiotics at the pharmacy for his double ear infection, our youngest grabs this toy hamster, looks at my wife and says “I don’t want to put him back mommy. I love him”. He wound up getting two hamsters and a hamster playset for Christmas. Christmas morning was one of the best days we’ve had as a family. The excitement and surprise from both boys (and my wife who didn’t know I bought her things) is what makes being a parent exciting.
So a few months later I got a letter from a family that my office adopted for Christmas. They didn’t have the money to buy gifts for their family this year. There are lots of things you can put up with as an adult, including not having Christmas, but children don’t understand those things. This mother told us how they woke up Christmas morning at 6am to her two children (ages 2 & 6) laughing and smiling from all the presents under the tree. She said she didn’t know how she would have told her sons that Santa wasn’t coming this year. As I read the letter I started to cry, remembering our Christmas experience and how it would have broken my heart to be in a situation where it wouldn’t have happened. How as Christmas got closer I wanted to give more and more to my boys.
Too often we take these moments for granted. I don’t want to forget the moment Christmas morning with my family anymore than how I felt when I got the letter from our adopted family. I had taken my boys to help pick out presents for this family and even had my older son help distribute presents to families at our church to help them appreciate things more. Each story I hear about children in need breaks my heart a little more, because I never want to see that happen to my kids. I don’t want my giving and caring to be related to one time of year. I want to be continually reminded of those I can serve; to remember the children around the world without food, shelter, and warmth, let alone toys to play with. How will we keep that Christmas spirit of giving, caring, and loving as alive on the 25th of June as we do on the 25th of December?