Very rarely are things exactly what they appear to be-especially during this gift-giving season. David Edgren explores the gift of a child and the understanding of a mother.
Mikey, my four-year-old son, cradled something special against his chest for most of that morning.
Wrapped carefully in his little fingers he carried a small piece of cardboard. At least that’s what his brother and sister said it was. “Mikey, it’s just a piece of cardboard. Stop being silly!” But Mikey was not about to discard his treasure. He was convinced it was something special. “It’s a present for Mummy,” he claimed.
“No it’s not,” argued the other two.“She won’t want a ripped piece of cardboard!” Our kids get up at ridiculous hours— usually about 5.30 am. It was the Christmas holidays, so as you can imagine we were not about to join them until a reasonable hour. I wandered into the lounge room around seven and evidently Mikey had been coddling the small piece of crumpled cardboard for more than an hour by then.
“He thinks it’s a present for Mummy,” said one of the others.
“But we saw it. It’s just an old piece of cardboard!” Mikey would not give up the fight.
He had spent a lot of time, evidently, making it and he was saving it “for Mummy.” After withstanding hours of torment, Mummy emerged from the bedroom and Mikey graciously offered her the “present.” She unwrapped the small parcel that had been lovingly lashed with numerous strips of sticky tape and discovered … a piece of cardboard! At least that’s what it looked like to me.
Upon unfolding the cardboard she found one word scrawled in Mikey font on its interior—“ MUM.” Mummy was overjoyed. “Mikey, this is wonderful! I know just what we will do with this. I have the perfect spot for it.” Mikey was elated and the “present” was displayed for the rest of the Christmas season with the other Christmas cards. It seems mothers understand the true value of a gift.
Imagine an old barn. Imagine a newborn infant wrapped in a used shirt, lying on some half-eaten hay in a feeding trough. Imagine the husband saying, “It’s over, Dear. Are you all right?” Imagine the innkeeper sticking his head in and asking, “Is the screaming finished? People are trying to sleep.”
Imagine the teenage mum saying, “He’s a gift from God.”
Of course she meant it. But how many other mothers before and since have said the same thing when cradling their newborn bub? How many of those who heard the oft-repeated statement thought there was any more to it than every other first-time-mum? “Of course he is, Sweety. Of course he is.” But Mary knew Jesus was a gift from above. A gift that—when opened— would reveal Divinity’s plan for eternity.
Much like Mikey’s small cardboard Christmas card, Jesus entered the world seeming rather small and insignificant.
But He wasn’t! It has been said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This Christmas, what do you see when you look at the Baby Jesus? A Christmas card? A nativity scene? Or a gift of eternal proportions?