Many years ago when our 3 kids were beginning to drive their own cars, and pay for their insurance and upkeep, etc., the memories of one particular Christmas are still strong.
Our youngest needed 4 new tires... badly! The tread was wearing thin and we knew he had to have them. We were also working on a pretty tight budget that year, actually a VERY tight budget.
He would already be getting much more than the others if we gave him the tires, and it was for sure he didn't have the money for them.
So I went to Michael's and bought a pack of 4 rubber tires for a car kit. I threaded them down in a row with a fancy gold cord and bow.
When Christmas Eve came, this was Tommy's gift... his ONLY gift! I sat on the floor with him behind me on the couch. This is a kid who doesn't just SIT and be quiet, even to this day. That night he was quiet, too quiet!
He opened his box, and got his 4 new tires. I have no idea what was under the tree for me or for the rest of us that night. I was fighting tears, I think we all were.
4 tires was a wonderful gift, but it sure wasn't the same as watching him tear open the wrapping paper and look with excitement at each new gift. There is nothing more wonderful than a parent sharing their children's joy.
I wonder how often Jesus is quiet as He watches us receive a gift directly from His heart into our lives, knowing it's the best thing for us at that time, yet feeling our pain when it hurts.
Tires may be a poor illustration, but that's what I'm thinking about on this December day.