The gifts of Christmas

December 20, 2013 chris
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I can vividly recall standing by my mother’s chair as my sister sat in her lap and she read a letter to us from our father.

We were at that age where the concept of long distance was tough to comprehend.

Dad was away as were many young men fighting a war. I knew he was away but that didn’t stop me from looking for him whenever my mom took us on an outing.

I tried to see his face, features, and shape in every man I saw. Such was the longing.

On one or two times I thought I did see him, as if Vietnam was a place across town.

A place the army made him stay and he couldn’t get away.

Once at the conclusion of one of his letters mom turned the envelope upside down and out of it came a necklace for me. It was a gold chain with a cross on it.

At the time I did not know its significance to man, I would learn that later on in life.

At the time, I only knew it was a gift to me from my father.

To this day I don’t wear much jewelry I never have but, if I did  it would be one small understated cross.

Each year my wife’s family gather at our house for the Christmas holidays. They usually exchange names for gifts and such.

My role is usually to start the celebration off by saying grace and sharing the Christmas story.

Once that is done I become an observer and an outsider which is fine with me.

I am much better on the periphery of things. I watched as the family descended like locust on the food. Especially the young athletes in our family.

Later that evening I watched as the family opened and exchanged gifts. This continued until beneath the tree was nearly as bare as the dishes in the kitchen.

I noticed that one gift remained under the tree unclaimed and unopened.

My strange mind somehow drew a parallel between that gift under the tree and the cross my father sent me so many years ago.

It occurred to me that that in a nut shell is how it is in so many homes and in so many hearts all around the world.

Just as my dad gave me the gift of the cross so did our heavenly Father.

By sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us at Calvary, He bids whosoever will let them come.

He states, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man would open up I will come in.”

But just like the gift that remained under our tree unclaimed and unopened so does the Father’s gift to the world.

I mentioned looking for my dad as a boy.

I read something somewhere a long time ago and bears repeating, “Wise men still watch for Him.”

Merry Christmas.