12.15.2016

When we’re waiting for the new thing

I’m waiting for Christmas morning.

I’m 36 years old, and I’m waiting. There’s a part of me that loves the countdown to Christmas. The days checked off a list. The promise of something good coming at the end of all those scratched off days.

Christmas morning.

Please come.

Because it feels like I’ve been waiting all year.

We’ve tucked stars into trees, all a part of this waiting. The days fly. And sometimes feel as though they’re hardly moving at all.

waiting

There’s really no reason why I always feel this way every year. There’s no gift exchange happening between the husband and I. No big gift coming that might make my day. It’s often one of our busiest days of the year. Between early morning celebrations with our children and days filled with extended family, it’s so busy. The minute my eyes open on Christmas morning, with one of the kids jumping on the bed before the sun gets up, I can’t help but think: “It’s here. I’ve been waiting all year.”

I grew up with a sense that on Christmas morning, every wrong thing was somehow made right. We would attend our church’s candlelight service and get home late Christmas Eve. I went to bed knowing that no matter how ungracious, unloving, undeserving I’d been all year long, I would wake up forgiven by parents who graciously put gifts under the tree. Not because I deserved any of them, but because they loved me.

They forgave the young child who fought continually with her siblings. They forgave the moody teenager who would barely talk for days at a time. They forgave the college student who came home and told them all their faults.

If there was a naughty/nice list, I might not make the “nice” list. I certainly hadn’t been nice to my parents all year. Friendships were questionable too. I usually had only been nice if they’d been nice to me. I’m not sure anything I did deserved a check in the “nice” box.

But on Christmas morning, the gifts were there. My parents were smiling, and gratitude erupted from a girl who showed little hope of ever turning out “well.” Even my grandmother had predicted to my parents that they “would have trouble with that one.”

And they did.

But I was forgiven.

Christmas morning felt like a fresh start, a chance to do it all over again. All my wrongs forgiven. Smiling parents. Undeserved gifts.

A little piece of me changed every Christmas through my teen years. Waking up feeling forgiven and given a clean slate changes the way you do things. It turned the sarcasm into concern for others. It changed the moodiness into gratitude. And eventually, it turned me into a daughter my parents were glad to wake up to on Christmas morning.

They could have quit giving me gifts and told me I didn’t deserve them. That would have been true. But they didn’t. Christmas morning came, and they placed as much as they could afford under the tree. Really good gifts, too. Ones I knew sometimes cost too much for our modest family.

It’s made me want to give good gifts to my own children. Really good ones that they don’t deserve. And not just Christmas morning. Every day of the year. Because not all gifts come in wrapping paper. Sometimes it’s the gift of a little undeserved grace.

That Christmas morning feeling isn’t just a feeling. It’s a sign of new life. A reminder of what Christmas morning is all about. Wise men sought after a star, and I have to think they thought “Please give me something new that will change the way I am now. That’s why I’m following this star so far.”

Waiting

I’m no wise man, but I’d imagine following a star for days that turn into years doesn’t make any one really consider you to be wise. So maybe the wisest things we do are the things considered most unwise by everyone watching us instead of the star.

So gift giving doesn’t really make sense. If I’m tallying points, about half my kids probably don’t deserve gifts this year. There’s one who wrote a note to the imaginary man in the suit, saying she’s been “mostly good” this year. There’s a whole lot of truth in that. They’ve left their rooms sloppy, argued with each other, lied, and yelled at each other and at me. But the gifts are there. Waiting. Wrapped.

And they’re good ones, too. Ones they don’t deserve.

I want them to know what a fresh start feels like. A morning when you wake up and realize you don’t measure up, but you’ve been given good things anyway.

And that’s why I’m waiting for Christmas morning.

It’s the best day of the year.

 


Comments

  1. Precious post, Jaime. 🙂

  2. I like this so much! This line got me:
    “A little piece of me changed every Christmas through my teen years. Waking up feeling forgiven and given a clean slate changes the way you do things. It turned the sarcasm into concern for others. It changed the moodiness into gratitude. And eventually, it turned me into a daughter my parents were glad to wake up to on Christmas morning.”
    Among other things, it gives me hope in parenting 🙂

Speak Your Mind

*