I can still remember Elen’s first Christmas, though I have to confess that this is mainly due to the fact that for the first time in my life I wasn’t the one getting all the flashy presents – she was!! At the time she was just a dribbling 7month old who didn’t even know how to use all the super-cool stuff her doting relatives had lavished upon her. Myself on the other hand had to suck it up and get used to the idea that I had been relegated from the designer clothes and tech gadgets league to the box of chocolates and budget socks league!
Truth is I wasn’t really that bothered at all. After all it was Elen’s first Christmas and I wanted her to be blessed to the max. Plus I quite like budget socks!! She might not have remembered much of that Christmas, but her second one – now that was a different matter…
By the time Christmas number 2 had arrived Elen had grown into a beautiful, bouncy toddler, full of life, laughter and creative energy. Michelle had been racking her brains for the perfect gift and came up trumps when she managed to get hold of a quality kid’s kitchen set, complete with cooker, hob, dishwasher and all the utensils! It was right up Elen’s street and we knew she’d love it! The problem was wrapping the jolly thing. We’d set it up all ready for her and it was huge – literally twice her size! We stayed up late on Christmas Eve wrapping all her gifts and eventually managed to get them all done – including the colossal kitchen! As we went to bed that night we were both buzzin’ to see exactly how Elen was going to respond to her special gift on Christmas morning…
As Christmas morning dawned Elen woke up full of excited anticipation. I’d like to think her excitement was all down to her passionate appreciation of the nativity story, but in reality she was a 19month old little girl and it was all about the merchandise at this point! After joining us for a cwtch in bed we went downstairs and her little face lit up as she saw this huge object, smothered in wrapping paper, waiting for her in the middle of the living room.
What she did next was profound.
She did what every kid in her position would have done – she hurried over to it and wasted no time in ripping strips of paper off until she made it to the prize underneath. To say she liked it would be an understatement of epic proportions! She went crazy for it and got straight down to cooking us breakfast (nothing like plastic sausage and chips for Brekkie on Christmas morning!)
But here’s the point – she saw the gift and just went for it! No fear. No doubt. No suspicion. No looking for strings. She knew it was a gift from parents who love her to bits and she trusted that it was going to be something good!
To me this was one of the most important lessons I learned from my little girl because this is how God wants us to respond to His gift for us. What is His gift? Check it out:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6v23)
God’s gift to us is eternal life that is solely, freely available to us through Jesus. He paid for it with His own blood on the cross and He now offers it to all who would receive it. Yet so many hear the good news of salvation and reject it. They say it sounds too good to be true. They question the validity of the gift, doubt the integrity of the Giver, fear what it’ll cost them, or refuse to accept that anything comes free and without strings!
Maybe that’s where you’re at!
If so, consider the words of Jesus Himself:
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18v17)
On the morning of Elen’s second Christmas I learned what Jesus was getting at when He said this! My little girl trusted us, grabbed hold of the gift, received it joyfully and boy was she blessed?!
That’s how we are to respond to Jesus!