I’m in a panic, it’s the season of guilt; all the “should’s” and the “ought-to’s,” even Martha must wilt!
It seems I am clueless, I admit with chagrin–what’s most important? What matters to Him?
I watch you scowl as you check off your list, as you hustle and hurry, get your brain in a twist, thinking more makes it better and much makes you right—this long sprint of madness toward Christmas Eve night.
I don’t really notice the height of your spruce, how cozy your candles, how tasty your goose, whether yours took the prize at the cookie exchange, the silver you’ve polished, the hors d’oeuvres you arrange,
what traditions you follow–I won’t find it shocking to see carrots for reindeer or coal in your stocking. I won’t be counting the plays you attend, which presents you purchase or how much you spend.
Serve a roast, or just pizza, I really don’t mind! If you escape to Hawaii or stay here resigned to the hustle, the bustle, the crowds and the noise, and come through it frazzled, or with Hallmark-like poise.
Either way, it won’t matter from my, point of view. There’s something quite different that I ask of you.
Stop for a moment, just put it on pause, that letter you’re writing to dear Santa Claus.
What gift could you give me to fill me with joy, better than any decoration or elaborate toy? Even more than my pleasure at each generous act of kindness to grinches, or unselfish tact?
Yes, I will notice the weak you are strong for, but before everything else, one thing I long for. There’s one special package under your tree, the first you must open—the present of ME.
Will you believe me, my desire is for you? My best gift this Christmas, the one that rings true? Just the pleasure of seeing your childlike grin when it finally hits you—you’re already in!
You’re locked in my heart, my valuable prize, forgiven and treasured, delight of my eyes. That you’d accept without argument the gift of my grace means more than all riches or works you embrace.
What means more than the caroling, the cider, the snow, is a heart that responds, your love that will grow as MY preparations are given free rein—then my coming, then Christmas, will not be in vain.
Jesus, forgive me, for I see it is true I’ve got it all backwards, I’ve tried to BE you, to make Christmas happen, (in me I will trust), as the best of intentions all crumble to dust.
So, YOUR gift I will open, each day, a new start—unwrap your goodness, and gaze at your heart, delight in fresh wonders, still warm from your touch, and believe the inscription,
“Child, I love you so much.”
By Janet Hanson, 2005
It’s not great poetry. I wrote it on a sugar cookie high, in the throes of teeth-gritting, jingle bell jarring angst.
The rhyme records a moment when it finally hit me. And every year I have to let it hit me again–I’m already loved.
And so are you, much more than you can imagine.
“And our eyes at last shall see him,
Through his own redeeming love;
For that child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above, and he leads his children on. to the place where he is gone.”
~Cecil Frances Alexander
Photograph of Christmas lights by Melanie Hunt