Under the Tree: Overrated

It was Christmas Eve and I couldn’t wait for Santa to come.  I am not even sure I believed in Santa at this point in my childhood, but I believed in presents and that was good enough.  I had trouble sleeping, and hearing the rustle of last-minute gift-wrapping upstairs only heightened my anticipation.  During the weeks leading up to Christmas, I prowled the attic, my mom’s closet, and any other place I could think to snoop. The idea of being surprised was overrated.  Practically speaking, I could just as easily be surprised by looking inside a plastic bag while standing barefoot on the attic’s plywood floor.  I felt certain that I had watched enough television to feign astonishment on Christmas morning.  I even fantasized about my Emmy-award winning performance.  It would be as bright and colorful as the lights on the tree that would spotlight me.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for during all that prowling but that’s part of the journey of discovery, right? It’s the thrill of seeking, of what could be, — maybe even of finding something better than we imagined. In my case, what I found didn’t compare to the curated wares hawked in the Spiegel catalog I carefully perused as a pastime. There was a Tootsie Roll piggy bank filled with chewy chocolate jerky.  Meh.  Fun socks — as if those two words could possibly go together.  Toys that were obviously for my brother.  I certainly had no use for G.I. Joe.  He was too short to use as a suitable partner for Barbie.  Then there were a few miscellaneous clothes that I hoped were for my sister because they weren’t quite cute enough for me.

I wanted a fur coat like the one I lovingly pet in the department store inspiring a lecture from my mom on animal cruelty.  What seemed crueler was her begrudging me this accessory that I was certain would make me look as glamorous as Sue Ellen on the Friday-night soap-opera, Dallas.  (If they didn’t want children to watch such smut, they should not have run it after an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard).  I would have settled for a rabbit’s foot keychain like some of the other girls at my school had.  They were supposed to bring good luck.  Who wouldn’t carry around two inches of a dead animal foot in exchange for a little luck?

In retrospect, there was no way that anything under the tree could ever live up to my fantastical expectations.   Years later, I realized that the one thing that could was upstaged by the material consumption that was my god.  I understood it was the baby in the manger that was the glory I sought. He was the one who would make me feel like I was enough even without plush fur wrapped around my body.  It was him I could trust to guide and protect me from harm – not a rabbit’s foot attached to a key chain.  It was his love that exceeded my wildest expectations.   It was Jesus, the Son of God, born in a manger, that has been the most surprising and significant gift of my life.  For so long, I searched in all the wrong places, for all the wrong things.  He was never in the attic or under the tree.  All along, he was within – the perfect gift just waiting to be unwrapped.

Wishing you and your family the joy of Christ now and always.  Merry Christmas!

Read last week’s post here: Hearing: It’s Not 400 Children and a Crop in the Field

10 thoughts on “Under the Tree: Overrated

  • December 22, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Thank for your posting this! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • January 7, 2020 at 2:01 am

      Thank you, Cindy! I hope your Christmas was blessed and your new year too!

  • December 17, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    nice. That is what Christmas is all about.

    • December 18, 2019 at 4:02 am

      Merry Christmas, Alexa!

  • December 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you. I believe you just described me 70 years ago.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    • December 17, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  • December 17, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    So true! Beautiful post! Thank you ?

    • December 17, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      Merry Christmas!

  • December 17, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Love this. Thank you for the reminder of what matters most. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the stress of the material aspects of the season.

    • December 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Trust me, I know! I spent all day yesterday trying to order gifts: is it the right brand, color, size… Geesh! And so little of it really matters.

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