For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
As a child, I remember shaking the Christmas gifts under the tree, trying to imagine what might be inside. In the movie A Christmas Story, Ralphie certainly got his wish — a Red Ryder BB gun. I wondered, would my Christmas wish also come true? Well, no. Instead of ice skates, I got a Monopoly game. I tried desperately to hide my disappointment from my parents. REALLY! A Monopoly game?
The week after Christmas, we had a deep snow and Christmas break was extended for another week. My brother Skip, whom I idolized, decided we should open up that “stupid game” and play until we broke the bank. We played off and on for days. I treasured that special time – just the two of us. My brother, the handsome, star quarterback of the high school football team, eventually won the game. I wasn’t upset, just happy that we had spent that extra time together as family. As life happens, my brother was tragically killed in an accident four months after Christmas.
Fifty years later, I still remember that Christmas and my disappointment in receiving the Monopoly game. But in that disappointment came treasured time with my brother. I learned about the gift of love, and what is most important about Christmas: family, tradition and faith. It’s about that special gift that our Heavenly Father gave to us: his only son Jesus Christ, the teacher of love, and the giver of redemption, forgiveness and grace. For unto us a child is born, in the city of Bethlehem. My wish this Advent is for each of us to make memories that will last a lifetime. And by the way, if you ever receive a Monopoly game, it might be the best Christmas gift ever.
Prayer: God, Fill our hearts and with the hope and glory that Christmas brings. Help us to listen quietly to the silent night and look for that bright star in the East. Amen.