As I was reflecting on Christmas this season I realized that the excitement was missing. Maybe as parents we just relive the excitement vicarously through our children. Even the climactic event of gift opening is now overshadowed by the stress of untying all those silly silver wires and unscrewing those tiny screws to find out what batteries we don’t have. Maybe our job now is just to manage the angst amid the bustle and gratefully accept whatever bits of holiday cheer are handed to us.
Then it dawned on me and the truth of Matthew 6:19-20 rang clear once more, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” What really floats my boat these days are not so much the amazing presents I receive, though the thoughtfulness and generosity of the presenter are still greatly appreciated.
What really got me excited this Christmas was standing in the back during our Christmas service and watching new believers praising God for the gift of Christ that they had recently accepted. It was in seeing in the same room those on their way to believing: neighbors we had invited, singing carols and hearing of the true significance of Christmas.
(the video below is from this Christmas service, in which our gospel-singer-in-residence, Jaye-san, did several Christmas gospel numbers. This will give you a feel of our service…and our kids dancing…and our neighbor friends sitting near us).
What brought tears of joy to my eyes was not the 42″ flat screen high definition TV (probably because I did not get one). No, it was caroling on Christmas day with our Kansai team, kids and all, at a nearby nursing home in front of 50+ residents and staff and then going around holding their longing-to-be-held hands wishing them, “Meri Kurisumasu!” and being met with similarly joyful tear filled eyes.
Gifts come in all forms. When we open our hearts and minds to the giver of all the good and perfect ones we can experience all the excitement of Christmas as his children ought.