“Is it going to be Christmas soon?” Jack began asking—in the middle of November. He could hardly contain himself when they began to set up the Christmas tree stand at the empty lot down the street, or when the grocery store began selling lights and wrapping paper. But mostly, he had presents in his eyes. “Is Auntie Susie going to give me presents? When is Liam going to give Jack presents?”
Perceptive parents that we are, Steve and I soon realized Christmas was revealing some serious greed in our son’s life. And it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet.
So one morning at breakfast Steve helped Jack make a Christmas list—of presents he wanted to give at Christmas. Because, “What’s better?” he began to catechize Jack, “To give presents or to get presents?” A rhetorical question that Jack didn’t answer correctly the first time. But he’s got it now.
Here is Jack’s first official Christmas List—of gifts he wants to give:
**Spoiler alert for Whitacre family—do not read past this point!**
Pops – Dog food for Bailey (just what he’s always wanted!)
Mimi – A pan (I think he means a frying pan for making him eggs in)
Auntie Susie – a ball (to play with him?)
Auntie Emmy – a purple phone (not sure where this is coming from)
Daddy – a red hat (go Maryland!)
Mommy – Pink and blue polka dot pajamas (think Dr. Seuss here?)
Tori – a friend named Kaiya (so sweet—the daughter of friends, born shortly after Tori)
Next week we’ll take Jack to the Dollar Store or Target to help him buy gifts for the Whitacre family. We pick names for the Mahaneys, but we also have a small extra gift for each of his cousins, to reinforce the giving is better theme.
On Christmas Eve we plan to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special and help him wrap his gifts for everyone and put them under the tree. We hope that at least some of the Christmas morning excitement will be giving presents to the family. Steve and I plan to make a big deal out of it anyway.
A little lesson. The older he gets, the more opportunities we’ll have to help him fight greed and give to others—especially those in need. Most of all, we hope that giving gifts will point him to our Savior who, “love us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2, emphasis mine).