Today, I asked a guy what he was getting his wife for Christmas.
To this, he replied, “O, we don’t really do that.”
“You don’t do what?”
“Buy gifts for each other. We’ve been married for 9 years, so by now I know that I’m more likely to miss than hit. We save ourselves the grief.”
Tragic, I tell you! My brethren, these things ought not to be so!
I used to feel that wishlists were idiotic. That the people who compiled them were selfish morons and deserved naught but coal in their stocking on Christmas morning. I no longer have this opinion. I’m definitely not saying that each family member should accost the matriarch with a typed memorandum outlining which and only which gifts are acceptable for discovery beneath the evergreen on the 25th of December. However, if you make no mention of what is important to you and the things that you enjoy, you have no one to blame but yourself when Santa has failed to surprise you in a pleasant manner. And yes, I do say surprise. Because the giver of the gift also has the responsibility of being thoughtful and creative. Even if the creativity lies only in the packaging and presentation of the present, or in the ability to surround the gift(s) with secrecy until the appointed time of unwrapping arrives, this creativity shows love. It shows you care. The receiver of the gift can see that not only do you listen to them, but you also understand them. You took the extra time out of your hectic schedule, and a few pennies out of the change jar to make them feel that they are important.
Jesus said that giving brings more blessing than receiving. He knew what He was talking about.
What has made the Christmas Season so enjoyable for me so far this year has not been the anticipation of gifts received by me, but of those received from me by my family.
Jim and I participated in the Angel Tree program this year. It is a ministry by which incarcerated parents can sign up to have gifts given to their children for Christmas on their behalf. I very much think that the spirit of giving and reconciliation that Jesus is all about is very well captured by this ministry. Even down to the reactions of those kids to which we delivered the gifts. We love. We plan. We give. But on behalf of someone else. And expect nothing in return. And we do it with joy, because that is what Christmas is all about.
So Merry Christmas, you type-A list-makers and Happy Holidays, you type-what-ever-else that loves Christmas! Love bee-chother. Give bee-chother the gift of pulling your head out of your rear long enough to remember that Christmas is about everybody but you.
I am not condoning dishonesty, but sometimes a little white lie goes far in preserving the magic of Christmas for everyone.
Or as Jack Donaghy would say, “Massage the truth, Kenneth. Massage it.”