He may enjoy his gifts for a minute, or play with the wrapping paper for an hour.
I wish I could give him a forever gift.
I wish I could give him the knowledge of Jesus. An belief in his miraculous birth, his perfect life, his death on the cross for our sins. I wish I could give him a relationship with this amazing God that will last for eternity, but I can’t. That will be his choice one day.
I wish I could give him a beautiful future. That I could present him today with a coupon book filled with picture perfect promises. Amazing parents with a rock solid marriage that sets a godly example of love and dedication for their entire lives. Sibling love and friendship. Aunts and uncles that love and mentor him. A church home that strengthens and nurtures his faith. Lifelong friendships. And with all of these people, that he would share one thing in common with them all, a love and knowledge of Christ.
But I can’t make such promises. None of this is in my control.
I wrap his little toys, looking forward to his childlike joy, but I wish I could much bigger presents. I wish I could wrap it all up, safe and sound.
I wish I could wrap him a perfect life.
None of us can have a life free of heartache or hardship. Not this side of heaven. And I’m just a regular, ordinary mama. I have no real control over my son’s life. I can’t make any guarantees, not even about myself and my own behavior in 20, 30, 60 years. I wish I could. I so wish I could.
I wish the things under the tree weren’t so temporary. That I could wrap spiritual, emotional, familial blessings with a big bow. But I can’t.
I can’t give all this to him now.
But what I do now will have an enormous affect on his future.
I can give him gifts that keep on giving.
I can pray. For all these things. For his future relationship with Christ. For my marriage. For our parenting skills. For God to give us grace and save my son from our inevitable sins and weaknesses as parents.
I can make choices. That lay the right foundation for his life, his eternity. Every day, giving him the gift of good choices. Choosing to know and love Jesus. To love my husband. To be a woman who follows Jesus more closely every year.
I can choose to measure my skills as a mother by my character. By how I strive to get to know my son and meet his spiritual and emotional needs, not by my appearance, possessions, or other Pinterest-worthy traits.
My prayers, my daily choices, this is what I want to give him this Christmas. More than gifts under a tree or other temporary experiences and activities.
I want to give him gifts that he won’t ever open, that won’t ever be wrapped, that he may never thank me for, but that will bless him and others far beyond this Christmas and New Year.
I want this for my son. I want this for our family. Gifts that keep on giving.
Prayers. Because I am small and human and can guarantee nothing. I trust One who is so much larger. I call on Him and lay my worries and requests at His feet, submitting to His power, His will.
Choices. Daily faithfulness. Loving my son, my husband, each one of us loving each other all year. Not just at Christmas. Not expressed in wrapped packages but in service, kindness, support, encouragement.
So that one day, when he celebrates his 30th birthday (as my husband did a few weeks ago), we might sit around as a family and tell stories that make him laugh and joke and wistfully recall is childhood. He may never say it or think it or know it, but these stories will be marked by prayers prayed and choices made. The tone and theme of his life will be the result of these two gifts that keep on giving.
And my son, his future family, will reap the benefits (and sow the consequences) of our prayers, our choices.
These gifts that I am wrapping for him in my heart. I hope they bless him every day of his life, not just December 25, 2012.
Merry Christmas, Boo.