She sat up in bed. She had to do something to kill time-- she wanted desperately to go downstairs-- but she didn't want to see her presents before she was allowed to open them, it would be so much harder to wait, and worse, she didn't want to guess what was in them-- they had to be a total surprise.
Yes, all this was worked out in the nine-year-old's mind as she groped around her bed for her latest "read". There were always multiple chapter books in her bed that either she was reading, had read, or was planning on reading-- one might wonder where the room was for her to sleep up in that crowded bunk that contained so much literature... She found it, sat back against her pillow and opened it up to where she last left off. She couldn't concentrate! She was too excited!
Back to the pile did she place her book, and down the ladder to the floor she climbed. She sneaked into the hall and stood by the banister for the stairs, listening desperately for sounds of life-- well, namely, awakened life. What was that? She heard someone in the kitchen! Her heart leaped, and she slowly tiptoed down the old, creaky wooden stairs.
Each stair made it's own distinct crrrreeeeeaaaak as it was pressed, signaling the arrival of the little girl on the first floor of the historic farmhouse. The person awake appeared at the bottom of the stairs just as the little girl was about three steps away. It was her daddy!
"Good morning," whispered his warm, kind voice.
The little girl grinned widely, revealing a set of overcrowded teeth, and giggled slightly, "Good morning, Daddy!" Her long brown hair cascaded in various knots over the shoulders of her silky, pink nightgown.
Her daddy scooped her up in a big hug as they exchanged whispered, "Merry Christmas"s then proceeded to lead her by the hand to the kitchen. "Don't look in the dining room!" he playfully warned. But he didn't have to tell the little girl twice-- she knew that in the dining room were the presents-- and she wanted to be surprised.
She could already begin to smell the beginnings of the canned cinnamon rolls-- a rare treat, and a tradition that would last up until this very day. The kitchen was dark, but warm and cozy. As she sat at the bar, her daddy poured her a steaming mug of hot chocolate. She shivered in the drafty kitchen, but the hot chocolate was good. Mmmm... it was good. "Thank you, Daddy." There was that overcrowded grin again.
You may have already guessed, but yes, the little girl in my little story was indeed me. This is a memory that I pray that I will never forget-- it is the epitome of life. The whole story is a lesson to me.
What is the lesson that I am presenting here? I remember my daddy, up before the crack of dawn, and how he nurtured his relationship with me. I remember his mischievous attitude, and his servant's heart, how he was on top of making everyone's breakfast (how did he know that I would be up so early?). He made me hot chocolate.
Reminds me of Russel in Pixar's Up, "Sometimes it's the little stuff that matters most..."
Yes. You may have thought that I have been elaborating on this point entirely to much recently, but it is such an important lesson to learn-- especially in light of Christmas.
I don't remember any of my presents that year. Frankly, I don't remember really anything else about that year's Christmas. It's all about our relationships, how we nurture them-- through the little stuff. My brothers and sisters love it when I give them gifts-- but I think they may even like it even better when I read aloud to them, or let them help me bake cookies in the kitchen. The other day, I made a pot of coffee while I was busy working on the computer. The coffee had been ready for a while, but I hadn't had any time yet to get up and prepare it. My fourteen year old sister, Melody, came and placed a fully dressed cup on my desk. I looked up and my heart melted. I didn't ask her to do that-- it meant more to me than any gift that anyone had given me in a long time.
What does this have to do with Christmas-- apart from my story? God could have sent Jesus down in a whirlwind. He could have appeared on a white horse, terrific, and awesome. God didn't have to send Jesus as a tiny, helpless baby. But He chose a tiny thing to conquer the big. He chose a foolish thing to shame the wise. He sent Himself as a baby-- a little thing that would change history, and conquer death, and pave the way for mankind to once again be in right relationship with the Father.
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Embrace the little things. You never know what they may become.
Merry Christmas to my lovely readers- all the best from our family, in the name of our Lord Jesus- King of the Universe!