When I was a boy, Christmas morning was fantastic.
It was also fantastically confusing.
It was fantastic because I’d get just about everything on my list. I think the only reason I didn’t get everything is that it was an embarrassingly long list. Santa Claus was better to me than he should have been. But hey, it wasn’t my fault that I was an only child.
So I’d get a lot of stuff. It was fantastic.
My parents enjoyed watching me enjoying my haul. They’d also give each other a present. They’d give each other one present. And they’d seem so happy.
That was what I found fantastically confusing. Mama and Daddy would get so little, and yet they’d be so happy. It befuddled me.
I eventually asked Daddy why they didn’t get more for Christmas. “Oh,” he said, “you get to a place in life where it means more to you to give than it does to get.” Then he added, “You’ll understand one day.”
My parents were always saying things like that. I confess that I doubted them when they did. How could I expect to understand something that made no sense? How could a person ever get more pleasure out of giving than out of getting?
I’m not sure when it happened—my guess would be it was when my Good Wife and I had children— but at some point, I stopped caring much about what I was going to get for Christmas. At some later point, I stopped caring about getting anything for Christmas.
Now, don’t hear that wrong. I am very grateful for the gifts my loved ones bestow on me, mainly because I know they give them to me because they love me. Still, if for some reason I didn’t get anything for Christmas, it wouldn’t matter.
But if I couldn’t give my wife and children and children-in-law anything, that would break my heart.
I reckon it has something to do with maturity. I guess you finally grow up enough that you’d rather give than receive.
I reckon that also explains why people who have been Christians for decades and who have been growing in the grace and love of the Lord for just about all their lives are always the least selfish and most selfless people you ever encounter. I suppose that’s why they always think about others first and about themselves last. I guess that’s why they’d rather stand up for others than defend themselves.
It all comes with maturity.
I reckon …