Merry Christmas!

This past Saturday I took my middle children, thirteen-year-old Gabriel and nine-year-old Lydia, Christmas shopping. We live in a quaint city on the coast of Maine with brick storefronts, cast iron lamp posts, and little shops bustling with Christmas cheer–exactly the type of place I enjoy shopping! If I can’t find what I’m looking for in downtown Bath, I don’t need it.

My kids eagerly hunted through the aisles of Renny’s, The Bath Sweet Shoppe, and Papa Geppetto’s toy store looking for just the right gifts for their siblings. Lydia was particularly thrilled to plonk down her money and buy a small truck for two-year-old Asher.

“Look, Mom!” she said, holding up the box. “It’s a truck from his favorite show!”

Down the street, while Gabriel perused in a book store, Lydia picked up three lollipops, one to tie on each package. As soon as we returned home, she raced upstairs to wrap her gifts.

“Did you make sure to hide them?” I asked, knowing Asher was likely to unwrap anything he found.

“They’re under my bed,” she said confidently.

Imagine our surprise the following morning when Asher bounced downstairs for breakfast sucking on a lollipop!

“Uh-oh,” I said as Lydia raced upstairs to inspect the damage.

Asher had unwrapped all three lollipops but left the presents untouched.

Later, it occurred to me how often I am like little Asher–going for the obvious, sugar-sweet gift that is easiest to unwrap and ignoring the true gift underneath. How often I miss God’s best because I’m focused on the wrong thing.

At Christmas last minute errands, parties, and shopping often replace the real gift of Christmas: the child in a manager who takes a whole lifetime to unwrap. Don’t settle for the easy and obvious. Take time to explore the gifts God has for you.

“See what great love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God,” I John 3:1.

What gifts are you asking God for this year?