THE VERY BEST GIFT
Christmas circa 1986 was a good one at my house.
Growing up, my sisters and I always opened presents on Christmas Eve, with stockings to look forward to on Christmas morning. The Christmas Eve I was six, I was tucked into bed hugging a brand new Cabbage Patch doll - a baby girl named “Roxanne” with a single wheaten tuft of yarn hair atop her head. It was the mid-eighties after all, and Cabbage Patch dolls were the “it” toy that year.
Christmas Day held greater wonder still. Beside the tree that morning stood a My Little Pony play house - pvc pipes with a plastic sheet fitted over the top, emblazoned in pink and purple ponies. I’m certain no store bought gift before or since has made a child happier than my ‘secret hideout’ made me. I was the Princess of Ponyland - queen of my diminutive domain. Big Sis was four years older, Little Sis three years younger. When I spied my gift that morning, I ceased for a moment to be the girl in the middle.
I was center stage, with a clubhouse of my very own to prove it.
In a way I couldn’t have expressed then, I knew in that moment - lost-in-the-middle child though I was - I was seen. I was known. I was loved. When I remember Christmas as a child, this is the one I think of, because those gifts spoke clearly to me, “You are special. You are unique. You matter to us.” Have you ever been given a gift like that? The kind of gift that gives you true confidence in the giver’s love for you, and your value to them?
As believers, we know the gifts under the tree are
representative of something far greater:
God’s vast love for us - and the miracle of the very first Christmas.
Jesus - a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, born to a virgin mother and lying in a lowly manger, was the very first gift of Christmas. God’s only son arrived in the humblest of circumstances, despite the incredible purpose for his birth: to save all humanity.
My children are six and eight - fun ages for dolls and race cars, cool t-shirts and adventure books - and I’m excited to watch them open gifts. I am also embracing the opportunity to share - on Christmas day and all month long, the story of the very first Christmas, and the real reason we exchange gifts: in honor and remembrance of the best-of-all gift mankind has ever received: God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, Jesus, to buy us everlasting freedom.
by Liz Sagaser