The other day I remembered the first Christmas I had the kids buy a gift for each other. We lived in Houston. Kayla had just turned five and had forever been asking for a 64 pack of crayons. I thought the other hundred or so crayons we had, although broken and paperless, would suffice because they still colored the same.
That year I took each kid by themselves to go shopping for their siblings. Adam went knowing exactly what he wanted to get Kyle and Kayla, and even if we saw something else later, he never changed his mind. I was trying to remember it right and I'm pretty sure Kyle got Kayla a Miss Piggy toothbrush.
When it came time to open presents that year, the whole atmosphere was different than years before. Instead of running to open their own, they couldn't wait to see the reactions of the ones they bought for.
When Kayla opened up her Miss Piggy toothbrush from Kyle and her 64 pack of crayons from Adam, she jumped up to hug her brothers. I'll never ever forget looking at the boys and seeing them smile. I'll never ever ever forget seeing the tears in Adam's eyes.
Oh, the joy of giving.
There is so much I wish I could give. When you are buying for eleven kids, you have to stretch things well. We just have so much dad gum fun when we are all home, though, that the gifts don't matter so much.
There are some things I couldn't buy but if there was any way possible, I would make happen. I wish I could give Sharon, Janet, Deanne, Ms. Alice, Debbie, Cathey, Myrna, Loma and Aunt Nancy their children back. Some are going through their first Christmas without them, some have survived several. I would give Genevieve her sweet Tony back and Bennie his beloved brother Don. I'd give sisters their brothers back and brothers, their sisters. As I'm typing we just got news that another wife will be burying her husband on Saturday and the Cowboy Church of Mabank will be mourning the loss of their pastor along with her.
I would give several of our unemployed a job. I would give several children their parents back under the same roof. I would give some of the couples I love so much a loving, faithful marriage. I would give the lonely a mate. Or a dog, whichever they prefer. I would bring the soldiers home.
I would give empty arms - a baby.
I'm not supposed to do these things. There is a greater purpose we cannot see with these old human eyes. Natalie Grant sings a song called "Held". Part of it goes like this:
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise is that when everything fell
We'd be held.
The promise is not that we won't go through tough times or be given everything our hearts desire; the promise is that we will be held when we do. Held by Hands that will make it all beautiful at some point.
What a gift!
Thank you Father that I can trust You. You are the Giver of good gifts. Thank you for Your hands that hold us when hearts are hurting. Help us recognize how You love us. I'm so grateful for all You have done for me. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that we get to serve You. And thank You that I haven't heard Christmas Shoes sung once this year. You make my heart smile.