From a double rainbow against a dark sky to the undeniable pleasure in a scoop of chocolate gelato, our Daddy sure knows how to make us smile. He loves to give us good gifts! And, as the best gift-giver in the universe, He also knows the value of suspense. And I learned it too one Christmas.
‘Twas the night before Christmas at the Jewett house, and everything was stirring . . . ’cause we got really excited about Christmas around our place. The stockings were hung, the lights were strung, and the presents were piled high under our decorated tannenbaum. Mom brought in our traditional Christmas Eve appetizer: sliced summer sausage, cheese, and potica (a Slovenian sweetbread), all sent with love from her family in Wisconsin. Everything was ready, and it was finally time.
Our family had a tradition of each opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and my sister and I had been eyeing the bounty of carefully wrapped packages for weeks, trying to decide which one we’d open first. We went around the circle, choosing one gift and opening it. And then, as we always did, we turned to Dad and begged, “Please can we open just one more? Pleeease?” I don’t know why we asked. He had never given in, and there was no indication that this time would be different. But, contrary to all reason, this time he said yes!
In utter glee, we ran to the Christmas tree and chose another gift to open. Then, because the first attempt had worked, we tried again. “Please, Daddy? Just one more?” To our shock, he agreed again! So we went around, each choosing a gift and opening it. Certainly the third time wouldn’t work, but we couldn’t help but ask. And it was like the universe was coming undone—he said yes again . . . and again . . . and again . . . until all the presents were unwrapped, and we sat staring in unbelief at one another under a pile of wrapping paper. Had we really just opened all our presents on Christmas Eve? The absurdity of it had us feeling a little excited, elated even.
Then came Christmas morning.
In all my years of Christmases, that one stands out as the darkest, most depressing of all. There was no excited pitter-patter of feet down the hall to wake our parents before dawn. In fact, I think we all just slept in. There was nothing to get up for! The excitement of the night before was replaced by sheer and utter disappointment that Christmas morning, when there were no presents to open.
God knows a gift is better because of the wait. When we cheat the system by opening one of His perfect gifts before the right time, it ceases to be perfect. That’s why the best gifts God gives us usually have a gift tag signed, “Wait to open. Trust me—it’s going to be good! Love, Daddy.”
God has given us the amazing gift of sex, and He also knows the surprise on “Christmas morning” (the wedding night) will make the gift all the sweeter! If you don’t give in by opening the gift on Christmas Eve, you won’t be disappointed.
And for those of you who have already known the disappointment of a premature Christmas, I know the holidays can bring on extra feelings of shame and regret. One of the things I love most about the story of my Christmas-Eve-debacle is that it didn’t end my enjoyment of every Christmas ever-after. The whole reason Jesus was born into this messed-up world was to bring hope and healing to those who need it. Amen? So let’s savor His grace and the beauty of second chances this Christmas.
And for heaven’s sakes, don’t ask your dad to let you open “just one more” on Christmas Eve! You never know when he might actually say yes.
This post was adapted from Jessie’s book Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You. And to celebrate Christmas, she’s giving away three copies of Crushed! To enter, leave a comment telling us about a favorite Christmas memory, what you’re hoping to get for Christmas, or why you’d like to win a copy of her book.