There were six of us kids sitting around the Christmas tree that year; All eager and expectant of what might be beneath the bright wrapping paper. Our parents looked tired. But then again, they always looked that way those days. Now that I’m a parent, I know that it wasn’t just a look, it was reality. They were in the heavy lifting stages of raising a family and making a living.
Little did any of us kids know just how hard it had been that year to provide for our ever growing family and have anything left to put toward Christmas gifts. We weren’t used to a lot but we had grown accustomed to Mom and Dad making birthdays and Christmas special.
My parents didn’t disappoint us that year either. I don’t remember what my four brothers got for Christmas, but I’ll never forget the gifts that my sister and I received. In fact, one of them stills sits up in Shiloh’s (my daughter) room to this day, providing fun for our granddaughters.
On Christmas morning, we had learned to go one at a time, savoring the unveiling of our gift under the tree. It was my little sister’s turn and she unwrapped a handmade pink cradle with a sweet decoupaged lamb on one end. It was completely outfitted for her favorite baby doll with a pillow, mattress and blanket. I still remember watching her tear the wrapping paper loose and put her hands up to her face in awe.
I was next, and when I unwrapped my gift, I couldn’t believe it. I had my own kitchen cupboard with doors, drawers and a pretty skirt around the bottom to hide all of my play dishes. I couldn’t wait to start cooking!
One gift each. That was it. A cradle and a cupboard. We thought we had won the lottery, we were so happy.
I didn’t realize until I was much older what had been required to make sure we each had a special gift under the tree. I was especially humbled when I learned what these two treasures were made of.
In the small town where we grew up, my Dad owned a liquor/shoe store and, without the money to buy lumber, he had fashioned the cradle and the cupboard out of discarded wooden liquor boxes. We didn’t know because he had painstakingly painted the boxes and enhanced them with all of the special touches. And without money to buy fabric, my Mom had gone into her closet and chosen one of her few dresses to cut up to make the pillow, blanket and mattress for the crib and to gather around the bottom of my cupboard. These had been gifts given with love and sacrifice.
But isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Love and sacrifice. Especially the first Christmas. God the Father looked down at His children and saw our need for a Savior. And He chose to take the most precious possession He had to meet that need.
As we celebrate this time of Thanksgiving and begin the celebration of Christmas, may we never forget the sacrifice that was made for us. And if we don’t receive anything else this year, we already have the best gift of all-God’s grace.
Here’s to Homespun gifts and Holy grace,
And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5: 2