A Gift Unwrapped

unwrappingAfter what seemed like a longer than normal trip, I’ve arrived at the Christmas house.  As I hobbled in the door with my crutches, I knew the concerns about packing, travel and gifting were mostly behind me.  Hugs and puppy kisses took the place of travel stress.

This morning was even better.  There were more hugs as I scooted through the kitchen door interrupting breakfast.  Little boy wonder about my left leg’s new wheels was followed by talk about who had grown taller in the last six months.

Soon the discussion turned to one of the other things that matter greatly in this family—books.  My brother warned me last night that the half-birthday books from 11 months ago had finally hit their mark . . . over and over and over again.   We talked of Percy Jackson and breakfast grew cold.  In an attempt not to leave anyone out we also talked of Big Bad Bunny who I will meet after school today.

As the crew ran out the door for school I realized there was no need to lament the passage of years.  We are past the Fisher Price and Thomas the Tank Engine days, but we’ve arrived at a new and exciting phase of life.  Books have always been important in this family, but it’s starting to be different. That realization led to another.

The Christmas house is still awaiting its transformation from normalcy to Christmasy.  The decorations await liberation.  Presents are squirreled away waiting encasement in wrapping paper and gift bags.  While I love presents and am excited for the surprises that will eventually be under the tree, I’ve already received one of the best gifts ever.

My family is together.

I don’t take it for granted.  I know there are other families that will never spend another Yuletide under the same roof. It’s no secret there are others who won’t celebrate with their biological families, but will gather with the heart family they’ve made for themselves.  I know some are half a world away from their families; although they wish they could be with them, they know they are apart for reasons that transcend common thought.   I once belonged to that group.

This year my family is together.

This year as I soak up life under one roof with six of my most favorite people, I realize God is here.  He permeates so many of our actions.  He gives patience to listen to a 1st grader read and acceptance of the 5th grader who shimmies across the kitchen floor on his back because he can.  God laces joyous laughter  through moments that could be filled with frustrated curtness.  He prompts a helpful hand when reading and rest are preferred.

My family is together.  It’s a gift we’re enjoying.  While most of our presents await the glitz and glitter of their December 25th appearance, we’ve already unwrapped the greatest gift of all—Immanuel, God with us.

photo courtesy of Suzanne Hanlon

I’m participating in Faith Barista’s Faith Jam.  Every week she’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith related topic.  Today’s post is my riff on the Christmas jam of “Unwrapping Jesus: Inspiring moments that fill you with God’s love, joy, peace, or hope.” If you’re interested in the notes others added to this Faith Jam, go check out her site and follow the links.)

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12 Responses to “A Gift Unwrapped”

  1. Ginger HuntDecember 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    Oh my, Sheryl, you hit it on the head. The boys and I are looking forward to seeing all of you. The precious gift of people who love us, with all our little imperfections and comforting habits. I love you guys. See you very, very soon.

  2. Lisa FurnishDecember 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    Beautiful…. Made more so because of the time I spent with you, and your mother, 25 years ago, in Middlebury, VT. Thank you for using your skill with the pen to bring glory to God, and joy to us who are still here on earth.

  3. SherylDecember 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    Ginger, I can’t wait for you and your men to get here! You are family. You should be here. 🙂 Love you to the moon and back.

  4. SherylDecember 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks, Lisa! I remember that trip to Middlebury very well; it was definitely a treat. Thanks for the encouragement! May your Christmas be bright and full of Jesus.

  5. Sarah DellDecember 17, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    I love this. It made me all teary. I am so glad you are all together…it doesn’t get any better than that. Soak up every second. Love you sweet friend. Can’t wait to see your face sometime soon.

  6. Joyce D.December 17, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Beautifully said Sheryl…

  7. SherylDecember 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Oh, Sarah! It is good to be all together. I love you, too. Why don’t you come out here for Christmas? Oh—that’s right, you get to be all together with your fam, too. And you have that cute scene stealer, Noah, to dote on.

    Thanks, Joyce. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.

  8. SaraDecember 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    LOVE THIS!! That’s all, really. LOVE!

  9. SherylDecember 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Awww—thanks, Sara! Love you!

  10. CherylDecember 21, 2010 at 2:11 am #

    Thanks for posting this. Makes me miss my own family, of course, and especially Zeke…
    I was remembering a certain Christmas in Strasbourg when we became a sort of improvised family, you, Mom and Dad O., Gramma Violet, Heili and us. It was very cold, but there were hot chesnuts and duck for Christmas dinner… That was fun!

  11. SherylDecember 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    You are so welcome, Soul! I think even when we get to spend Christmas with or family of origin, there’s a small part of our hearts that long for it to be the way it was when we were children. I’ll be praying especially for you this Christmas. I know it will be hard in some ways.

    We often talk about our Strasbourg Christmas! It was very fun!

  12. TirzahDecember 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Glad you made it there and are enjoying your family. Love to you from sunny FL!

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