Airsoft guns. A robot. A “tri-fold Italian leather wallet” (as spotted at Walmart and immediately coveted!). A puppy. A cell phone. Money.
These things and more made up our children’s Christmas lists this year. Granted, they were all somewhat more manageable than the “Tyrannosaurus rex that makes cotton candy” that one of them asked Santa for one year, but even so, not all of the wished-for items were found under the tree. My husband and I, with Santa’s help, do indulge our kids somewhat at this time of year, giving them some combination of gifts they really want and gifts we think they would like, but they’re aware that their Christmas list is a wish list rather than an order form!
This year, I was thinking about my own wish list for my kids. What gifts do I really wish I could give them for Christmas? This is what I came up with:
- The gift of Delight. I want my kids to delight in things! Not “things” like iPods and cell phones, but “things” like an awesome sunset and a family snowball fight!
- The gift of Awareness. I want them to be tuned in–to themselves and those around them, able to look both inward and outward, to care for both themselves and others.
- The gift of Struggle. Yes, I want my kids to struggle. Some. I want them to face unexpected challenges and handle them, to make mistakes and even fail and become better for it.
- The gift of Pain. Yes, I want my kids to experience pain. Some pain, while they’re young. Maybe that’s crazy, but pain is an unavoidable part of life, and while it causes me indescribable anguish to see them hurting, I want my kids to not be afraid of it. I want to help them realize that not only can they get through painful experiences but they can even learn from them, becoming stronger in those broken places.
- The gift of Belovedness. Above all, I desperately want my children to know, deep in their souls, how much they are loved. I want them to know that they are completely and utterly and unconditionally loved, not for what they do or even who they are, but simply because they are…and that there is nothing they can do, good or bad, to change that. Claiming this belovedness, I believe, will give them the freedom and courage to discover who they were created to be and confidently offer that person to the world.
These are the gifts I wish I could give my children: Delight, Awareness, Struggle, Pain, and Belovedness. Not quite airsoft guns and puppies, but gifts just the same. Perhaps my list is not a list that my children would ever send to Santa, but it is the list that I have written on my heart. Perhaps I will send it to an even greater Gift-Giver, and see what He can do…..
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 🙂