Our family has a tradition of drawing names for the annual gift exchange. One Christmas, as we opened our gifts, all eyes went to my Grandpa Roetcisoender when he tore the paper off his present and exclaimed “Just what I wanted!” My quiet grandpa had a merry twinkle in his eye. The rest of the family exchanged glances. “Who had your name?” they all asked, looking around the room for the match and the answer to the mystery. When no one responded, Grandpa shyly responded, “I did.”
Grandpa had the last laugh that year when he drew his own name and bought exactly what he wanted.
What if you drew your own name this Christmas? What would you do? What would you buy for yourself?
Perfume? A new coat? A decoration for your home? The new season of Downton Abbey? What gift is your personal “just what I wanted!”
Or is it something money can’t buy? Evenings by the fire, listening to carols, making a batch of cookies, playing board games with your family? Having a grudge forgiven or re-connecting with an old friend? A season focused on celebrating the birthday of a King?
I used to think the saddest day ever was December 26th. All the days leading up to Christmas were such a build-up that the day after felt like a let-down. Tinsel on the carpet, the tree stripped of presents, the after-Christmas sales, piles of wrapping paper overfilling the recycling bin, and bills to be paid. But maybe planning and “shopping” for the one gift could really change that. And maybe focusing on the True One Gift and what His birth means, would help us see beyond Christmas to the New Year and to Easter with the promise that our lives are a celebration of birth and re-birth.
Do you have your 2015 calendar? The only New Year’s resolution you may need is to schedule what is truly important. Bill Hybels in his book Simplify writes, “I am still learning that my schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more about who I want to become.” By first filling in the calendar boxes with what’s important to who you are, you might avoid frenetic and unfulfilled living. Hybels explains, “The thoughtful arrangement of your daily and weekly calendar is one of the holiest endeavors you can undertake.”
And so, if your gift to yourself is to focus on the meaning of the season, then take on that “holy endeavor,” put that event or quiet space on your calendar, and don’t let anything squeeze it out. If your personal present is to take more time to relax and recharge, keep some boxes empty or schedule: “RECHARGE.” If it’s more family time, then “thoughtfully arrange” your week and block out evenings RIGHT NOW. Be proactive and plan your calendar.
Then when the season or the year is over, you’ll feel you got the perfect gift. You’ll be able to unwrap a present satisfying to your soul and exclaim with a merry twinkle, “Just what I wanted!”
Copyright 2014 Ann Stewart
Join us daily as we celebrate Christmas with our annual 12 Days of Christmas series.
About Ann Stewart
Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.
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