'How silently, how silently the wondrous gift was given...''
Today I was rocking Isaac after one of his feedings and was watching the snow fall outside his window. It was a very peaceful moment, amidst the craziness of this new thing called 'being parents'. It is also a quiet moment that I will cherish in my heart forever. The snow gently fell to the earth, christening the ground with tiny white crystals. I thought of the verse in the song "Indescribable" (Laura Story)-that line that reads "Who has shown every lighting bolt where it should go? Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow...", then the line from Proverbs 31:21-"When it snows she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in scarlet".
Sitting there rocking in the silence of winter, clothed in warmth both physcially and in spirit, I pondered that line from "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" again that says "How silently, how silently the wondrous gift was given...". There was nothing glamorous about Jesus' birth. He was born among the animals, wrapped in dirty rags. How's that for entering the world? But that's God-humbling Himself. Heaven touched earth that night, and other than the star that shone for the wisemen, there was nothing shiny or fancy about His coming...
So why do we get so wrapped up (pardon the pun) in Christmas needing to be about frantic shopping and fancy gifts? I doubt the wisemen rushed to fine the half-off sale before hopping on their camels to make the journey to the King. They took what they had-granted they were kings, so the gifts were pretty nice, but they took what they already had. When the shepherds came to see the Christ child, they brought no gifts; they bowed at His feet and worshiped the newborn King.
This Christmas we decided (well, the budget decided for us) that we weren't going to do gifts this year, not even something small for each other. Not even the box cheese grater that Alan had his heart set on all year! (sorry, we don't own one, and always joke that I should put it on his christmas list, but every year it never makes the cut). We gave each other a son, and that's enough for our hearts. We still have a few gifts to buy for nephews/niece, but as for our little family, the stockings were hung, but nothing inside; the tree was decorated and lit, but no presents beneath...and we're just fine with that. "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also"; our treasure at Christmas is in worshiping the Savior born to us, thanking God that He sent His son to die for us, and praising Him for humbling Himself enough to be born in a manger.
For Isaac, we want to instill in him early the true meaning of Christmas. We've chosen not to do the 'santa' thing because we want him to know that it's not about the gifts from santa, and telling him to believe in santa, someone he can't see, and who doesn't exist, then turn around and hope he trusts Jesus someday, again, someone he can't technically 'see' but does exisit is not something we want to do. We all have our stories of when we realized santa wasn't real. I'm sure we all had a twinkle in our eye as a child dreaming of santa and what he'd bring, but for me, the day I realized he didn't exist was somewhat of a downer, and I was young enough, but old enough, to be very confused about the whole 'believe in santa' thing. We want our child to know the true meaning, the true spirit, the true worship experience that is Christmas. We will, however, give him three special gifts each Christmas morn, starting next year, to represent the wisemen giving gifts, and in lieu of the santa thing.
In a minute here, we're going to give Isaac his bath and feed him, then, since Christmas eve service was cancelled due to snow, and a tradition we want to begin as a family anyway, we're going to sit at the piano, pray, and sing through some Christmas hymns to worship the Savior born to us that day.
Christmas is about glorifying God (Luke 2:13-14)! Oh come, let us adore HIM!