Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art,
Dear desire of ev’ry nation,
Joy of every longing heart. (LBW, 30)
I remember about twenty six years ago when my son, Jawon, was about six. Christmas was coming and he made a list of all the things he expected. His list included -- GiJoe, HeMan and the Thundercats action figures, Hot Wheels cars and a whole host of other things.
When I saw the list, I panicked. You see, financially -- that year was a particularly bad year for me. I was just getting used to being a single parent. I was saving to buy a car. Money was tight. Yet, here was this child waiting, anticipating, expecting a wonderful Christmas. There was not much I could promise him. I promised him a Christmas Tree, that we could decorate together, and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Christmas approached and all I had in my pocket after the Christmas decorations and the Christmas dinner was five dollars. On my way home from work, on Christmas Eve I walked into the local chain drugstore to look for something for my son. I bought Jawon a 12 inch long red and white plastic airplane, that cost $2.99. On Christmas morning, his eyes lit up and to my surprise he loved it. That airplane spurred hours of imaginative play.
Our lives are so full of uncertainties. Our expectations are not always met. What we hope for does not always come to past. Life does not always work the way in which we would have it work.
Yet, in the midst of our unmet hopes', dreams and wishes come the unexpected. We look to what we are able to do and we do it. We look at not so much what is missing but what we have. On that Christmas day so many years ago, $2.99 is all that was needed. I will always remember that Christmas, especially, the smiles and the laughter of a mother and son that had each other.
In this season, would you look around you and thank God for all that you have -- be it little or much. Please remember, there is one hope, one expectation that is always fulfilled, God’s grace, mercy and love are always available to us -- always present for us, in this season and in every season.
(This blog was revived from an article written in 2004)