With a very large family, who do not all get along, we have multiple “Christmas’s” around Christmas time. However, when we first brought our little (now adopted) boy home as a foster child, it was a much simpler Christmas.
In the village parts of Asia, Christmas isn’t really a celebrated thing, and if it is, it certainly is more a religious choice than commercialization of santa. So when we brought him home, for his first Christmas, we had no idea what would occur. We didn’t know if he would like the singing, we didn’t know if he would like the food or cookies… but nothing could have prepared us for the way he reacted towards presents.
We had dinner, sang a few carols, read the Christmas story, and then it came time for presents. Throughout his stay he never went over and looked at them under the tree, these were clearly his first presents. We walked him over to the tree, and handed him the bag that was his and he just stared at it for ages, then after much prompting, he took out a piece of tissue paper, got a huge smile on his face and went to each individual person in the room to say thank you, sat down in the corner, and began playing with the paper.
So simple. So thankful. So content.
We all kind of just sat there, not knowing if we wanted him to just enjoy that or actually open his gift.
After a few minutes we brought the bag to him and brought out the little stuffed monkey that was in it and he was just in awe! In his mind he got two gifts in one day!
Needless to say, we opened the rest of his gifts for him after he was in bed and placed them around the house for him to find as he explored his new home, because we didn’t want to force his simple heart into consumerism. Now would the three gifts he got really do that? No, but still, he was so content for months just carrying around his one monkey, and we wanted to let him enjoy that.
Fast forward to last night, his first Christmas around extended family, everyone there wanted to give him gifts and so he had by far the most, but he was still more than happy with just opening one. He went around thanking everyone again, and that was enough.
This Christmas may we not just say the gracious “Oh, I love it! Thank you!” to the relative that gives you the worst gift ever, but may we truly be thankful that the ultimate gift came over 2,000 years ago.
I hope we all have simple Christmas’ this year. May we be taken back to the wonder and awe of childhood in this season.
Oh and just incase you were wondering, he really liked Christmas cookies!