Best Christmas Present Ever!

I’m sure you all saw the TV commercials leading up to Christmas this year, where there was a kid thinking back on a Christmas past, where they had received the best Christmas present imaginable at that time, like the Big Wheel, or the Christmas present that made their cousin so jealous. And, then they fast foward to the present, where the kid is now in their 30s or so, and they’re looking at their brand new Lexus, with a red bow on top, as they say the words “the best Christmas gift ever”.

I’m sure you’ve all had those Christmases over the years where you thought, this was it! This was absolutely the best Christmas, where I received the best Christmas gift ever! Nothing can ever top this! Come on, think about it. What Christmas gifts conjure up those memories of a Christmas so unforgettable? I know I have mine from the past. Mine was a bike I received as a kid, then a motorcycle at age 12, or the great watch that I received last year that I’ve worn just about every day since. There have been others as time has moved on.

But, yesterday, Christmas of 2008, all other Christmases, all other Christmas gifts will forever pail in comparison. For yesterday, I received the ABSOLUTE best Christmas gift ever.

It was Christmas morning and we had just finished opening the presents under the tree. At that time, my oldest son said that he had something else for everyone and he ran upstairs to his bedroom. In a minute he came back downstairs with 5 hand-written letters in his hand. One for each of his sisters, his little brother, his Mom, and me. I was already surprised and touched that he actually took the time to write 5 letters to us all. We asked him if he wanted us to read them out loud or to ourselves, but he didn’t care. So, we gave each other the option to read it out loud or not. My youngest daughter chose to read hers out loud and so she began. I was so pleased and moved by the love and care for his little sister that poured from the words that she read. I know that that had to really touch her heart knowing that she had a big brother like that. To be honest after that, I can’t remember who read theirs next or what it said because my wife and I had already begun to get choked up. Each letter to his siblings expressed, love, appreciation for them and him asking them for forgiveness for things he had done against them. Wow!

Then, I decided to read mine out loud. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I couldn’t control my emotions and the tears began to flow. I’m not one that’s easily moved to tears and it has to be something that really hits me and hits me deep. It’s such a rare occasion that I had to endure the chorus from other members of the family saying “Oh my gosh, he does have emotions”. I actually had to laugh when that was said. Do you know how weird if feels to be laughing and crying at the same time? I actually had to have my youngest son finish reading the last couple of sentences because I couldn’t continue. Anyway, I was so moved and blessed by the things he had written. His words are and will be an encouragement to me. As a Dad, I often wonder am I doing things right, am I teaching them correctly, am I raising them right, am I spending enough time with them, am I making a difference in their lives? Well, by God’s grace, and by God putting it on his heart to write these letters this year, I have received an affirming answer. I never really expected to read anything like what I read in that letter yesterday.

Too many times in life and especially at Christmas time, we’re too focused on the material gifts that we get. We don’t see the great gifts that are right there all the time in front of us. Our relationships with our family members (kids, spouse, brothers, sisters, Mom, Dad, etc.) are more important than any material gift could ever be. Fortunately, I was awaken to that fact this Christmas. And, in the same fashion as the Lexus commercials, I think back to Christmases past and the times I have said “this is the best Christmas gift ever” and then I fast forward to Christmas present, and as I hold the letter from my oldest son in my hand, I can truly say with tears in my eyes and without a doubt, “this is the ABSOLUTE best Christmas gift EVER”!

I will be finding a frame to put it in.

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Is There Such a Thing as a Drama King?

My last post that I wrote had to do with drama also. It seems to be a theme running through our family at this time. I was faced with the decision whether or not to combine this with my previous post. But, I decided that I should write separate posts about my 2 oldest kids.

So, is there such a thing as a “Drama King”? I don’t know. I’ve never heard the term used, but you never know. My oldest son is not really a “Drama King” in the sense of how the term “Drama Queen” is used, but he has had a couple of significant Drama related things happen to him recently that I thought were worthy of a post. So, in regards to those things, I’ll call him a “Drama King”.

My oldest son is one that really enjoys theater and has what I think is a gift in that area. He has the peronality for it, a strong, clear voice, and a knack for putting himself into character.

He, like my oldest daughter, is giving himself in service to our church this Christmas Eve, in our church’s Christmas Eve services. He is one of the Wise Men Apprentices. I was able to watch a little bit of the rehearsal yesterday and he did a really good job. It is such a thrill to see him using his abilities in that way. It is going to be such a great joy to be serving our Lord at the same time, on the same stage, on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait.

Most recently though, he landed the lead role in his upcoming school play, which will happen in February. This was a great thrill for him and I can’t wait to see the play. Unfortunately, we have 2 more months to wait. Anyway, he is hard at work with rehearsals and putting every ounce of energy he has into something he enjoys.

This past year has been a year of accomplishments for him that I hope he will always remember. I hope that he will reflect back on them and see God’s hand in them. His accomplishments of recovering from reconstructive knee surgery over a year ago, to making his school basketball team, to now getting the lead in the play. He has come so far.

The Drama Queen’s Servant Heart

I say the title of this post kind of tongue and cheek because although I do affectionately call her a “Drama Queen” around the house, I know that deep down she truly has a servant’s heart. I speak of my oldest here, who has over and over again impressed me and shown me what a true servant she can be, allowing God to use her through her love for theater and performing arts.

As parents, my wife and I have always encouraged our kids to find an area to serve in our church. My wife and I both believe strongly that God has given each of us gifts, abilities, talents and passions of our heart, that He can use for His glory and to build up the church body. In other words, find an area that you think you can contribute in, and get involved.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched my oldest flourish and just take off. As a teenager she started out getting involved in our children’s ministry. This soon morphed into involvement in a children’s ministry worship team. In this ministry I was blessed to watch her lead the young kids in praise and worship of our Lord. I watched her blossom into a leader, being relied on and depended on by the adult leadership of the group. What a great joy and thrill it was for her to be recognized for her leadership and willingness to stepup. Now, her service in our children’s ministry has grown into her role as what we call a “Large Group Leader”, which is responsible for the worship and teaching of a large group of kids. This role involves music, theater, leadership, teaching, her outgoing personality, and her overall love for kids. You can’t imagine the joy I feel when watching her use her gifts. I am truly amazed and blessed.

Now, as we approach Christmas, I will have the privilege and thrill of watching her use her gifts to bless those who attend our Christmas Eve services. She is a dancer and angel in our Christmas Eve service. She has been hard at work for a couple of months already leading up to this. I look forward to being able to see her do her thing. The unfortunate thing is that I won’t get to watch it as it happens, I’ll have to watch it via video. That’s because I will have the joy of being on the same stage, at the same time with her. Not dancing or acting, but doing my thing.