I had an interesting exchange (or maybe it’s better termed as frustrating discussion) with one of my kids this week that makes me wonder how I could have been so blind.
We were talking about Christmas.
Christmas for me is all about the surprise. I typically choose to toss out a few gift ideas to my kids that I know they can afford and let them choose what they will purchase and put under the tree. That way when I open it I know I’ll be at least somewhat surprised.
Maybe it is still the kid in me.
Maybe it is because of the memories that I have when my kids were little and I could see the surprise and wonder in their eyes and I want to continue to experience it over and over again each year at Christmas.
And maybe I think all my kids should be wired just like me and want Christmas to be the way I want it to be.
Our conversation started out innocently as I’ve been wracking my brain trying to find something for this kid that will be a total surprise–something not on his radar–something that will blow him away and will be the best gift ever.
And I found that perfect gift!
There was only one requirement before I made the purchase. I needed to make sure he was available to enjoy the “event” on a specific date.
The text message read, “Could you keep the evening of January 3 open? I have a Christmas gift for you, but don’t want to buy it if you aren’t available.”
“What is it, Mom?”
“It’s the season of secrets and I want it to be a surprise. Are you available?” I texted back.
Then every event in the city on that date popped up in the text from him with a smiley face. It felt like he wanted to prove that he was smarter than me and had figured it out.
None of them were right.
“Yeah!” I thought. “I’ve stumped him.”
“So, can you be available?” I texted again.
Then the phone rang. “I want to know what it is before I leave the date open. Why can’t you just tell me?”
By now my frustration was on the rise. How dare him ruin my surprise.
After a few exchanges and me continuing to ridiculously keep my secret, I could tell we were at an impasse. He wasn’t going to budge and I was holding onto my belief that Christmas was about surprises.
And then this wise kid asked me a question, “Mom, what is Christmas all about?”
“Surprise and wonder,” I quickly quipped.
“I thought it was about family.”
And then I remembered my frustration down through the years. As this kid opened up his presents he would announced to the family what was in each package before it was opened. And I would be disappointed that he had figured it out.
Was Christmas about me, the gift giver, or him as the receiver? Didn’t I need to speak his love language during this season?
Suddenly, our exchange changed to one that was more positive. “You don’t like surprises, do you son?”
“Nope. I never have. Are you just figuring that out?”
He nailed me there. Guess I’ve been pretty slow to pick up on that one–more accurately blinded by my own desires without thinking about his.
And I shared my gift idea with him.
And I could tell he was genuinely excited!
So, no, there will not be a surprise element to his Christmas. But he’ll know he is loved–the way he needs to be loved.
And there won’t be any hard feelings because I’ve already apologized.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Dare you to see Christmas through the lens of your children in how they receive love.
Double dare you to ask yourself if it’s about the gifts, the surprise, family time, or teaching the true meaning of Christmas in light of our Savior’s birth.
God keeps teaching me to:
“Let go…and Let God”,
With Christmas around the corner, why not fill a parent or teacher’s stocking with a gift that will help them grow in their relationships. Order your copy or copies of With All Due Respect here .