This weekend, my house celebrated Christmas together. We drew names for secret santa months ago, and have spent every moment since preparing for this one night. Sunday night, all fourteen of us piled into the living room, Christmas tree lit up in the corner, plugged in our Christmas playlist, and began our gift exchange.
It’s our favorite time of the year together. In a house full of so many girls, it is such a rare moment that we are all here together. This one night a year is treasured, and held close to our hearts.
The best part of Christmas at The Kingdom is the way we reveal who our gift is for. The person giving the gift stands up and performs their very best impression of who they are gifting. These impersonations are always so funny, but things that any outsider would just be confused by. They’re like secrets, inside jokes just shared between the walls of our house.
As impressions were being made and gifts were beginning to be opened, insecurity, rearing its ugly head once again, began to rise up inside of me. What if they don’t know how to impersonate me? I don’t do anything memorable. What if whoever drew me didn’t know what to get me? What if my gift isn’t special? I am not known.
Every gift was perfect this year. And as each one was opened, I became more and more anxious.
Until Allison stood up. I won’t share the embarrassing thing she did to reveal my name, but immediately, everyone knew the gift was for me. I began peeling back the wrapping paper, unveiling a corner, and immediately knew what it was. I opened the beautiful piece of art she had given me and started crying. Like real, heavy tears. Sobbing.
Yes- I was exhausted. I had gotten back from Polar Bear earlier that morning and I was all out of sorts. I was a mess. But it was more than being tired that made me cry. They were incredible tears of joy. I felt so known. Any trace of anxiety and insecurity was gone, and I felt a sweet relief and reassurance- I am fully known and fully loved. It was a gift I didn’t ask for, but one that I loved, and one that only someone who truly knew me would have known to get me.
Gifts are my love language. They always have been. I love getting gifts and I love giving gifts. The beauty of a gift isn’t the thing itself, it’s what it communicates. The perfect gift can communicate so many things that words can’t always say. Allison’s gift told me, you are loved. I know you and I love you and it’s important to me that you are sure of that.
The ultimate gift came to us in the form of a baby. God sent his Son to Earth, as an infant, to give us the ultimate gift. Salvation. Freedom.
He gave us a gift that said, I love you. I will stop at nothing to let you know how much I love you. I know you fully, more than anyone else, and I know what you need. I created you, and you turned away from me, but I will win you back. I will give my only Son to die so that we may be in relationship together again. I will move mountains, I will change everything, to win you back. I will hand over my Son to suffer and to die.
Christ came to Earth, humbled to the form of an infant, holding the promise of salvation within his tiny, fragile body. That morning in Bethleham, God gave us the one gift that we couldn’t give ourselves.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4
Like those sweet prints Allison gave me? Check out TopoBear Designs to see more beautiful artwork from the talented John Coleman.