Christmas is an incredible time of the year for me. Often it seems I save up most of my creative energies for this month. More art leaves my paper and hands and becomes reality during this season than at any other time of the year.
Every year I try to find or create wow gifts for my daughters. I search for something that is uniquely them-hopefully an heirloom gift that will be passed down to grandchildren--treasures of our family. One year we gave our first born a refurbished 35 mm camera (her father's). We gave our second daughter her first guitar, and our third her first month of private ballet lessons and our youngest was given spy gear.
Wow gifts. The elation on their faces was priceless.
Incredibly all of these gifts have blessed us a hundred times over in return. Our families and close friends have been blessed by the fruits of these gifts. We have been stunned by black and white photography, soothed by the strum of the guitar, awed by many dance recitals and followed by motion detectors.
My daughters are all older now. The atmosphere of Christmas has changed in subtle ways, but there are still lists and plans on my work table. And even this morning I have been adjusting--trying to find the wow. I am still looking for something that will bless the very heart of them. There's only been a few Christmases that have truly been Wow years, but that doesn't mean I don't try every year.
I have a gift I have been working for over three years now. A gift for one of my dearest friends. I have researched, planned, sketched, searched, and gathered. This gift has been created in stages. This gift began as a simple plan on a page in my art journal. Someday it will be in her hands. The tangible reality on my art table does not yet match the plans I sketched. When my art (sculpting or writing) comes close to the vision I have inside my head I am elated. Rarely ever does the reality match my ideal vision. There are times, however, I get close; I am dumbfounded when it happens.
Is this a minute fraction of how the Most High felt two thousand years ago? He had been planning his WOW gift since the foundations of the world. God had recorded the details in his book--obscure and impossible details only He could bring to reality.
God didn't just get close. His vision and reality were the same.
His Son was just as he envisioned; he was an exact likeness of his Father. Every detail, every particular was present in Jesus. God must have been so thrilled the night of Jesus' birth. When Jesus was placed in Mary's arms God must have shouted. Heaven must have vibrated with the intensity of the Most High's joy.
When I plan my gifts I am always adjusting, contemplating, and revising my plans in order to create something that speaks of my love and admiration for the recipients. If this is how an earthly mother and friend feels and considers gifts, then we can only begin to imagine the depth of God's gift for us.
Understand this: God never had to adjust or revise his plans in order to give something that told us of his love. He sent Jesus who is exact representation of himself. Oh, how glad we should be that God's vision is his reality. How glad we should be that at the foundations of the world he was thinking of us.
Wow gifts are not frivolous. They are not random, haphazard, obligatory purchases bought on bored or frustrated whims. God didn't send Jesus randomly. He did not send him because he felt obligated. He sent Jesus because he loved us.
And that is the definition of a real Christmas gift.