Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The best gifts

 I have to work Christmas Day until 3:00. I'm not happy about it and have been thinking and praying about finding another job, one that doesn't have to be open on major holidays, like a hospital does. My family is going to wait until I get home to open gifts. I hate to have them wait, yet I know how I would feel if they didn't. So I'll put my eight hours in and get home as quickly as I can on Christmas day.

  And yet I realize there are families who can't get together because of distance, or because of work or military service. And there are some families who won't be together because of death. This was brought to my mind afresh yesterday.

  A two year old boy was brought by ambulance to the emergency department. I watched a young father weeping as he waited for the ambulance to arrive. I saw him hit his knees and pray for the little guy. I watched as the doctor and emergency department supervisor gave him the news that they had done all they could do and couldn't save the little boy. My heart broke for the family as I thought about the gifts that will never be opened, about a family planing a funeral for a little boy at what should be the most joyous time of the year. A family, who if they still do it, will gather around a tree next Thursday and be missing a little special person.

  I have been thinking about that, and suddenly my working Christmas Day doesn't seem that bad. I'll walk in and depending on how involved they are in the Wii and computer games, get hugs from all six of my nieces and nephews. I'll walk upstairs to find my parents, my 2 sisters, and my 2 brothers-in-law....and our family will be complete. No holes, just a few hours delay til I get there.

  Our family has always gotten along. We aren't perfect, but there is no fighting. No one is fighting addictions to drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. We are all in fairly good health.

  There was a picture on Facebook that said the best gifts are not the ones under the tree, but the ones around the tree. And it is true. We aren't rich, but we pretty well with gifts. I alone have a couple of gifts for everyone, plus a few gag gifts, so I have around 30 gifts wrapped and under the tree. Add the gifts from everyone else for 13 people, and there are going to be a lot of gifts under the tree.
  And yet, none of them would matter if we had a loss like some families are dealing with. So I am going to enjoy opening my gifts and watching my family open the gifts I got for them, I will enjoy the reactions to the gag gifts I bought, I'll enjoy the laughter as someone opens the yearly tradition of the stuffed hippo..... and I'll be thankful that we are all there. The best gifts aren't wrapped in pretty paper. The best gifts are family.

 And no, I'm still not happy to be working Christmas Day, but there are worse things. And I have off the four days after........

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