Children love Christmas because they adore surprises, they like getting presents, and they freely accept the gift’s message that they are loved. Living in their simple, concrete world, children experience the joys of Christmas for what they are. As we age and our worldview becomes more abstract, we come to realize that Christmas magic is actually about the giver.
The Christmas I learned to appreciate the gift and the giver was the year I received a much hoped for stocking hat. These long, cone shaped hats were the latest fashion and all my peers wore them. It was really all I wanted for Christmas that year. I excitedly compared all my friends hats, wondering which one I would get that Christmas. I remember Christmas morning opening the gift. It had my mother’s familiar touch. She was an expert knitter and I instantly realized she had made my stocking hat. Like Joseph’s amazing technicolor dream coat, my new hat was made of many colors and I immediately felt a child’s pride arising from a parent’s love. I loved that hat, not for the motive I had in wanting it (because all my friends had one) but because every time I looked at it, I visualized my mother long after I went to bed at night, knitting it for me. Because of its rainbow design, I knew she had to change the skein of yarn every few rows, making the gift all the more special.
The hat is long gone, but the memory of the gift is not, because it was the gift that changed every gift to come, it was the gift that taught me to be a generous giver, it taught me to look beyond the gift to the giver. It was the gift that taught me that time is a gift, making people happy is a gift, and that the real gift lies between the giver and receiver. The hat wasn’t the gift, a mother’s love was.
Many years have passed, I still wear stocking hats and still carry the lessons that first one taught me, especially to be the gift. This Christmas, as we face a second year fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, remember you are the gift and it’s vital during these tough times to be the gift.
- Be a messenger – tell someone how important they are
- Be presence – turn off the electronics and take a walk in the woods with a friend, grandchild, or someone special in your life
- Be repentance – ask pardon of someone you have hurt
- Be mercy – forgive someone who has hurt you
- Be comfort – share a treasured memory with someone who has forgotten
- Be light – visit someone living in darkness
For those who wait for your love, expect your presence, or need your hope, you are the gift this Christmas.
During this holiday time, Miles wishes you moments of lightness in the midst of the pain.
We wish you companionship of beloved people in the midst of the loneliness.
We wish you healing as you learn to endure these days. Most of all, we wish you peace.