This morning, in the middle of opening gifts, the Uber-princess spontaneously broke out in song. We joined her in singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. That was one of the best gifts of the morning. A sweet card that described what she likes about each member of our family ("Smart is the word for my big sister. She knows cursive."), given to all of us by Timid Daughter ranks right up there too. And our girls' reaction when we asked them if it was a good Christmas, before letting them open up an uncharacteristically big family gift warmed my heart too - they were perfectly happy with the handful of smaller gifts they'd been given. It made me confident that giving them a big gift was a good decision - it wouldn't define Christmas for them, it would just enhance it.
I worry about those things - what the holiday will mean to our girls. I want the gifts to be an expression and illustration of the great gift we've already received in Jesus being born as God in the flesh. It honestly makes the enjoyment of all the material things that much sweeter. Christmas in our home is not made or broken by what is received - those things are the icing on the cake.
Knowing that they "got it" was freeing because I also delight to see my children enjoy receiving gifts. I want them to feel loved, and sometimes a gift is a good way to express that (for some, it is the best way to express that - see the Five Love Languages to learn more). This year I truly revelled in lavishing a big gift on them. I loved to see them shrieking and jumping in excitement over such an unexpected gift. There is Christmas in that - the showing of deep love through an extravagant gift, a costly gift. People quote John 3:16 so often that we get numbed to this. Today I felt it anew, the abundant love expressed at Christmas: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son..."