By Aaron Elder

The Christmas season is here and that means only one thing: Presents! Actually there’s a whole lot more to Christmas, but as a dad of young kids, presents do much to illuminate the inner lives of all ages. 

I have two girls (7 and 2) and a boy (4). My girls are much more difficult to shop for. It isn’t that they are picky, but actually that they are surprising. The gifts my girls receive that I expect they’ll like, they do, but it is often something else that captivates their minds and imaginations. My son is quite the opposite. Last Christmas, he was giving us adults a tutorial on how to experience life. Quite literally, EVERY present he opened was met with the words, “this is the best present ever.” This wasn’t the adult version of people pleasing, he was absolutely enthralled in every gift he received.

As I prepare for another Christmas with my kids, the shopping becomes a delight. For my girls, I know that what I choose they will like, but I also know that I will get further insight into who they are. For my son, I know that he’ll be caught in wonder and imagination with anything he receives.

All of this makes me think differently about that first Christmas and the gift of Jesus. I imagine God as a giddy father watching the world unwrap his most precious gift. As he watches, he sees the way each person responds to the gift and he gets to interact with each on a very personal level. In a sense, he gets to know us by how we respond.

And I imagine God, with sheer delight, preparing and wrapping his precious gift. Like me with my son, he waits in eager anticipation for the joy that will spring forth. And like my girls, he waits to see what will capture their imaginations. In many ways, it feels like the present is still being unwrapped. Some have seen it for what it is and have received it, but are still discovering the fullness of what it is. Some don’t see it fully yet because their vision is clouded in some way. My prayer is that, like the apostles, we too will all see the gift completely with unveiled faces and our joy too be made complete.

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