December 20, 2008

Out of the Box

I am the oldest of 5 children.  I know, that explains a lot.  Growing up my parents worked very hard at making our family cohesive.  I, of course, didn't appreciate any of that then, but now that I'm older and a parent myself, I am astounded at the way they prioritized and selflessly raised us.

There was a Christmas in the mid 80's where my parents decided that "gifts of experience" were going to by and large replace our typical Christmas gifts.  This meant waking up to a pile of inner tubes under the tree with the announcement that we were going tubing Christmas afternoon.  This meant tickets to Phantom of the Opera with the announcement that we were going on a cultural field trip.  I have no doubt that the decision was partly motivated by the financial strain of providing 5 children with Christmas.   I also know that my parents were wise enough to realize that 20 years later we would remember the experiences more than what toys we opened Christmas morning.

There is a lot of talk at Christmas about the birth of Jesus and how He is the true gift of Christmas.   Is Jesus a gift we unwrap Christmas morning, get excited and tell everyone about only to be forgotten as Christmas fades?   I want the gift of the birth of Jesus to be a "gift of experience".  The Gift that I can reflect on with familiarity and love.  The Gift that has a whole lot of good stories behind it that make me laugh and cry.   The Gift that makes me want to run out the door Christmas Day because I can not wait to tell all my friends about what I received.  The Gift that I don't try to keep in its box so it won't get dirty or worn.

My hope for myself and my family is that we enjoy Christmas and all of it's fun.  That we are grateful for the presents under the tree, for time off from busy schedules to rest and enjoy our family, for good food and a gym membership that will get lots of use in the New Year (but not before then!!).  

My biggest prayer, though, is that the True Gift this Christmas will be one that we take out of the box and experience all year long.

"Jesus came so we can have real and eternal life, a better life than we ever dreamed of."
John 10:10


  1. That was great Keri. Thank you for that.

  2. You are so right, Keri. I love this post -- and I love hearing how your parents were so creative! I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and 2009!

  3. Even if it wasn't a financial reason for their way of "giving" for Christmas.... I think its very clever and think I may do that one day when my kids are older and able to understand and appreciate it. Thanks for sharing.....

    Um, and, where was my Christmas card???? It was a cute card I saw hanging on the Evens fridge. LOL

    Happy Holidays friend.



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