Happy Monday, Everyone! I don’t know about all of you, but this time of the year we seem to meet ourselves coming and going. Every once in a while, in the hustle and bustle, something happens that stops the wild whirl and brings home the true meaning of the season. Today on the porch, I thought I’d share the story of one of those moments.
One of the most meaningful Christmas gift I ever received didn’t come from a store shelf. It came from a Wal-mart gumball machine. In terms of jewelry, it was not pricey. It was made of silver-coated plastic and sported a pink gemstone of unknown origin. The ring cost exactly twenty-five cents, a single quarter, but it was all a four-year-old boy had in his pocket. He had to beg for the money while waiting rather impatiently in the checkout line after a long day of last-minute holiday shopping.
I’ll never know, of course, what happened at the exact moment he stood in front of the potpourri of shiny gumball machines. I have imagined that moment many times, when I come across the pink diamond ring nestled among more expensive things in my jewelry box.
I picture the little boy in his Big Smith overalls and cowboy boots, standing in front of the machines, his chubby little fingers caressing the quarter as he considers Superballs, and Batman tattoos, and everlasting Gobstoppers. I see his eyes narrow as he weighs the possibilities. His mouth waters as he thinks of sour straws and Skittles. Then he sees the rings, and he imagines how thrilled his mom would be to have something so fine–how beautiful it would look on her finger at church on Sunday. Most certainly, everyone there would admire it. His mom will be the best-dressed mom in the place, the most special mom of all. If he buys the ring.
He considers the options again–all the temptations that are just a turn of the crank away. And then he remembers that it’s almost Christmas. He puts the quarter carefully into the jewelry machine, turns the handle, waits with anticipation as the plastic bubble drops into the hatch below. When it does, he grabs it, peeks inside. It’s everything he’d imagined. It’s perfect.
He closes both hands around it, runs back to the checkout stand, holds it up, smiles and says, “Mommy, I gotted you a trit-mas pres-nit.” In that moment, gumballs and skittles, and Batman tattoos are the furthest things from his mind. It’s Christmas, after all, and his heart tells him that Christmas isn’t about what getting what you want. It’s about giving the most good and perfect gift, in celebration of the Good and Perfect Gift that was given to us in a tiny stable, in a town with a name he can never quite pronounce, a long, long time ago, in a place even farther away than Grandma’s house.
Question of the day: What about you? Do you remember a special moment that paused the hustle and bustle and brought home the true meaning of Christmas?