Best Christmas ever?

My colleague, Bryan Maier, has written a great and melancholic reminder of how longing and enjoyment of Christmas mingle soon after opening of presents. You can read it here.

He speaks the truth about our inability to remember most Christmas gifts and how quickly the unwrapping process is over, leaving us with a desire for more. If your family hands out gift cards or cash, I suspect the mingled feelings are even more prominent.

What Christmas was the best you ever had? Did it have anything to do with gifts? Location? People you spent it with?

One to Remember:

My wife and I rarely give each other gifts. That is a tradition we started back when we had little money to spend. Last year I broke with tradition and gave her an early present, captured here by my sister-in-law. Squint real hard and you can see the gift on her left hand next to her wedding band. 20.5 years with me plus recovering from recent breast cancer treatment (her fight and recovery was a gift to me!) was ample reason enough for her gift–as if she needed a reason!

But even a gift of jewelry won’t always stay in the mind. This year, one of my favorite gifts was this picture that I didn’t know existed. But soon I’ll put it away and not remember how great it was to give her the ring. I’ll see the ring on her finger and won’t be moved by it. That is the way of humanity. We have short memories for joy and thankfulness but sadly, longer memories for disappointment.

May we work hard to remember the many blessings of gifts we receive each and every day. The practice of remembering blessings will be a gift to you and to others as you are less likely to be a bitter person.


Filed under memory, Psychology

4 responses to “Best Christmas ever?

  1. D. Stevenson

    This sentence that Bryan wrote: “This is what Christmas really means to me – the beginning of the end of sin, abuse, cancer and death and the beginning of true life as it was meant to be lived, in Christ.” is a great summary of what I have been feeling this year.

    To some friends on facebook, I wrote,
    Increased awareness this year of multitudes of sorrows, both worldwide and in those close to me has had me looking at the birth of Christ from a different vantage than usual. Verse three of Joy to the World is especially meaningful.

    No more let sins and sorrows grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as, far as, the curse is found.

    ……..(Rev.5:9) And they sang a new song, saying “Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals; for you were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation……..

    I have also experienced Increased awareness of the truth that joy and grief can coexist and observed that joy which surfaces in the waves of pain is more intense.

    • Scott Knapp

      D., I’ve loved the last two stanzas of the old Christmas hymn “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” for it’s pointing forward to the very time “Joy To The World” was meant to announce, the coming of the King to establish is rule and reign.

      “And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
      Whose forms are bending low,
      Who toil along the climbing way
      With painful steps and slow,
      Look now! for glad and golden hours
      come swiftly on the wing.
      O rest beside the weary road,
      And hear the angels sing!”

      “For lo!, the days are hastening on,
      By prophet bards foretold,
      When with the ever-circling years
      Comes round the Age of Gold!
      When peace shall over all the earth
      Its ancient splendors fling,
      And the whole world give back the song
      Which now the angels sing.”

      Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

  2. I have been a single mom now for about 5yrs….providing for my two children in and of itself is difficult on a daily basis, however even when I was with my husband…Chritmastime always seemed to bring a certain amount of pressure and anxiety during this time of year…to pay the bills and provide gifts for the kids; and ones they wanted and enjoyed, a dificult task indeed. A tradition we started for our family in, they received three gifts each for Christmas,Christ received three; they also recieve three. It was also a way to make a strong connection; Christmas with Christ….and afford the holiday without breaking the bank…too much anyway. No, the gifts were not gold, frankinsense and myhr…did I spell that right…?..
    Today my kids are almost 19yrs and 15yrs…I still feel that pressure to provide things they would like, admittedly one thing that does become easier as they grow; they are easier to buy for…and I can avoid Toys R Us….phew…!
    This year ….something I realized. My kids LOVE Christmas; they always have. they love to listen to Christmas carols and songs before Thanksgiving, we love to drive around a look at Christmas lights…we look forward to Christmas Eve service, or this year it was Christmas Eve Eve service….God sometimes gives us awareness when we cannot figure it out on our own…its like a slap in the back of the head….’Hello…are you listening…?”….I realized the even though some Christmases have been very slight on gifts, most times,….and they ‘only’ have three gifts to open…there is sadness of missing members of the family….They still LOVE Christmas..! why have I missed it for so long..? They consider first the things that give them joy, not the things they wish they could change, or what they want; they dont remember the lack of gifts or missing members of our family or the lack of invitations to come visit, it usually is just the three of us….what a blessing to me….God gives us just what we need. This year, I needed to see this; He showed me through my kids…. They taught me a great and valuable lesson. They gave me, My God gave me, the greatest gift anyone could give…..straight from the heart of God; eyes to see and a heart to receive.
    Merry Christmas….even when we think we have very little, we are richly blessed.

  3. Love the photo of you and your bride! 🙂

    My spouse and I usually plan a gift together — like new bedding, furniture, or, one year, a new dishwasher. Surprising the kids is really what brings joy to my heart.

    I love Christmastime and creating new memories with my boys. Growing up without much “fun,” I probably go overboard in the opposite direction.

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