I took December off. I am sure by now I miss y’all very much. I hope you enjoy my Advent reflections from last year.
This season I was grateful to have my daughters hooked on Netflix. Not only can the Peanut name more kinds of dinosaurs than I will ever be able to (thanks Dinosaur Train!) but we have avoided almost all holiday commercials. Somehow I think the Beatles sentiment “money can’t buy me love” is much closer to the truth than Kay Jeweler’s “every Kiss begins with Kay!” What does that even mean? The ONLY reason people kiss is because one gives the other diamonds? There are about a million babies on this planet whose existence speaks to the truth that close physical contact happens far more often than diamonds are givens.
It isn’t just at Christmas that we are being convinced that if we love someone we will buy them something special, and by special they usually mean expensive. Perhaps it is just me remembering through rose colored glasses, but I don’t remember Easter and Valentine’s day presents being such a huge deal. A brick of chocolate in the holiday appropriate shape always did quite nicely. When did the Easter bunny start bringing diamonds? When did Santa become a one stop everything I want shop rather than the benevolent uncle who brought one or two things you liked? When did expensive jewelry become the go to gift, rather than a once or twice in a lifetime affair?
When did we become convinced that we can accurately represent our love with stuff?
My kids got spoiled this morning. Not by us. Santa brought one present a piece to my lovelies, and stockings were stuffed with 1 book, crayons, and a peanut butter-chocolate Santa (Priscilla would be happy to trade you her Santa if you have some more crayons for her to eat). Most of those presents said “from Grandma.” Of everything they got this year, I think this Christmas will be remembered as the Christmas of the shopping cart and baby stroller. They are pushing them around as I type this. Priscilla has her baby doll in there and is bouncing up and down. “Look, see, see, baby, WHEEEEE” as she careens around the house making motor noises. (Apparently it is a very fancy baby stroller!) They love them even though they are not the fanciest presents they received. Grandma picked them up at the last second because she saw them and couldn’t resist. The girls adore them, and that makes this the Christmas of the wheeled carts.
I spent the better part of an hour the other night frantically searching the house with my husband. On top of bookshelves, underneath couches and beds, we shook out blankets and checked inside pillowcases. Nothing. Well, at least not what we were looking for. We were on the hunt for a three inch bear, pink and second-hand, Juliet has christened this bear “baby teddy” and likes to sleep with it and the mommy teddy every night. It isn’t anything special really, but Juliet loves it, and that makes it special.
We have made new friends, who feel like old friends spent a couple years in a far off land. There, they learned to call God, “Dad.” It is catching with us, as we bow our heads together. “Dad.” I was reminded Sunday that it is the birth of Jesus that makes this possible, my ability to approach the creator of the universe in such a familiar manor, “hey Dad?” And I am his child. If I listen hard enough sometimes I hear him answer just like I to my girls “yes lovey?”
Perhaps it has been said before that you can’t buy love…but it is costly. My savior came down as a baby in a manger, to suffer all the indignities of humanity. So that I could call the great I am, Dad. In everything I do, in everything I botch, I am loved, and that love makes me special. It has very little to do with me, the loved, and everything to do with the Lover and how He chose to love me.