In my youth, I was quite the tomboy. My heroes were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and, like many young girls, I loved horses. I dreamed of owning one someday. To prepare for that event, I “practiced” riding on the back of the couch. This, of course, put a burr under my parents’ saddles, so I took my riding down to the basement where we would go to watch television. We’d curl up in an old green armchair that was probably the most comfortable, and least attractive, chair in the house. Its back was a little higher than usual, which made it perfect for imitating Roy Rogers, the way he’d take a running leap onto the back of his horse, Trigger, before racing off to catch the bad guys.
That year, on Christmas eve, after all the presents had been opened, my dad pretended to hear something out on the porch. No one else could hear anything but he insisted he’d heard something and went out to check. He returned, dragging a hobby horse which he claimed Santa had left on the porch. The horse posed in full gallop with springs on the four corners that allowed the rider to rock back and forth or bouncy up and down. I fell in love, and my chair-riding days were over.
Years later, when my future husband and were shopping for furniture, a picture on the store wall caught my attention. It showed a little girl with long blonde tresses, her bottom lip in a pout as she serves her punishment standing in a corner. Behind her, a large collie approaches while looking back, as if wanting to comfort her but fearing he may end up in the dog house as well.
Once again, I fell in love, though I knew we couldn’t afford it. Months passed, and I often thought about the picture. At one point, I even returned to the store to see if they might sell me the unframed print. But it was gone, and no one seemed to remember even having such an item. Several years later on Christmas, my husband presented me with the print of that very picture. It still hangs on our wall today.
What made those gifts so memorable? Besides being a complete surprise (I love surprises!), they were personal. Each one touched a deep part of my heart, satisfied an intense desire.
Appropriate, don’t you think? Every year, we celebrate Christmas to remember the gift of God’s son. An innocent baby, born in a dirty, smelly stable, touches our hearts. He is a personal gift to each one of us that we choose to accept or reject. When we accept, He reaches into the deepest parts of our heart and satisfies our most intense longings. Not longings for horses or pictures that can change with time, but longings that we experience every day of our lives. He satisfies our longings for unconditional love. He declares us righteous, though the world condemns us. He alone supplies our need for salvation and eternal life.
Truly, every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights (James 1:17).
I hope you’ll celebrate with me the most memorable gift ever given, ever received, ever accepted. The gift of Messiah, God’s only son, Jesus Christ our Savior.