It was just before Christmas 12 years ago when my wife and I found out that we would be parents in another 8 months. We gathered my then 12, 10 and 7 year old children around the dining room table and told them that we were going to have an “addition” to our family. My oldest asked “A puppy?” We said no, not a puppy. My middle guessed “A kitty?” No we said, adding that this addition would have 2 feet, not 4. To which my youngest blurted out “A Kangaroo?”
Now if you are reading this in anywhere but Southern Saskatchewan in the winter time, you may not see the humor in a kangaroo being an optional family addition. But we laughed until we cried. And while we did not have a kangaroo for a family member, the baby was from then on nicknamed “Roo” and Disney characters and artwork decorated the soon-to-be baby’s room.
We don’t always get what we expect, and Christmas is a great example. We sometimes get things that just don’t make sense, sometimes things that don’t fit our counter space or our personal tastes. The key is to always be gracious and grateful. It reminds me of the following story.
Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.
As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.
Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.
But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”
The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”
So remember, no matter how big or how small, how useful or how ugly, the point of the gift is the thought. Sometimes we may not understand the thought, but that is irrelevant. That is our shortcoming. Don’t let it affect the joy that you are thought of, appreciated and loved.
Merry Christmas everyone!