...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. Luke 2:7

As soon as the clock hit 7:00, my sisters, brother and I would hurry down the stairs and straight into our parents’ bedroom. As if they hadn’t heard us chattering in the room above them or were oblivious to the pitter-pattering of our feet coming down the stairs that were right above their room, they acted surprised when we rushed in the room announcing, “It’s Christmas! It’s time to get up! Santa was here!”

We then rushed out of the room and went straight to the tree. Per our family tradition, we could get our stockings and see what Santa had left for us in those, while mom and dad made their way to the kitchen to get their coffee and tea. Each one of us would dump our stockings on the carpet, ooo and ahhh over the treats, and unwrap any small gifts he may have left inside. 

If the coffee and tea making were taking a bit too long, we may even touch some of the gifts or begin shifting them around as we looked for packages with our names on them. Soon mom would come into the living room, tea in one hand, and a smile across her face that would light up the room brighter than any Christmas light. There was never any question that this was her favorite time of year, and a day that she poured her heart into making the best day ever for her family. Dad would soon follow, coffee in his hand, and his strong voice echoing, “Ho Ho Ho…Merry Christmas!” 

Those were the signals that meant we were about to dive into the unwrapping. Gifts were distributed. Anticipation was palatable, as we each waited for our turn to unwrap our first gift. The unwrapping ensued. Laughter could be heard throughout the room. Side discussions were had, as we showed one another our toys. The fireplace sparkled behind us. Hugs were shared. Smiles were passed knowingly from giver to receiver. It was a Christmas morning that would truly be any child’s dream.

One particular year, the unwrapping had just finished, and a small gift left tucked near the trunk of the tree caught my eye. As tiny as it was, it seemed a Christmas miracle that it hadn’t gotten thrown aside in the midst of the chaos and wrapping paper.

“Look”, I said, as I reached for the gift. “Here’s one more present. It says ‘Everybody’ on the tag.”

Curious to see what such a small gift might hold, everyone set aside their presents, and quietly waited for me to unwrap it. I carefully ripped open the gift, careful not to damage its contents. Inside it simply held a piece of paper with a child’s handwriting on it. 

“What is it?” my little brother asked, as everyone patiently waited for me to reveal what I had found.

I held up the piece of paper, and then read its words aloud. It simply said, “In the middle of all the fun of the presents, let’s not forget the real reason for Christmas. It’s Jesus’ Birthday.”

Smiles and nods were shared throughout the room. Someone suggested we take some time to pray. So, on that loud, exciting morning, with wrapping paper strewn from wall to wall, the six of us bowed our heads and thanked God for our many blessings, including the most precious gift of all, His Son, Jesus. 

I pray that as we continue to make our way through the Christmas season, with all of its traditions and preparations, that we each take the time to pause and remember “the most precious gift of all, His Son, Jesus”.

Thoughts to ponder:

What are some traditions you hold close to your heart?

Is there a meaningful story from your childhood you could share with your family this year?

What can you do this Christmas season to help those around you remember the true meaning of Christmas?

Misty Cramer ©2021

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