It was a Christmas in the early to mid-1960s and in the corner of the living room stood the Meier family Christmas tree. Attracting the most attention that year was the seven-foot-tall box wrapped in brown paper with a gingerbread man drawn on it. Noticeably absent from the package was a card! The gift presented a great mystery as neither the recipient(s) nor the giver were identified. As Christmas drew near the anticipation grew with each passing day.
On Christmas morning the mystery package was the last one to be opened. It was then revealed that the gift was for all of the Meier children, from their father’s brother, Uncle John. At the appointed time my brother, two older sisters, and I tore into the box and to our great surprise we found a toboggan. It was a great gift for children living in New Jersey, in an area accustomed to having lots of snow.
As soon as the first snowfall came, we went to the sledding hill in our hometown of Westfield. We went tobogganing with my brother and sisters in front of me. Being the youngest, I was always at the back! It was a long climb up the hill, and a short thrilling ride down. Everybody was looking at the Meier family toboggan. Our father would sometimes go along with us, but our mother stayed behind to prepare the hot chocolate to warm us up after many rides down the hill.
This was my most memorable gift for two reasons. First, the anticipation that built day after day as we wondered whose gift this was. Second, it was a gift that my brother, sisters and I shared that brought us hours of enjoyment.
~ Sarah Rennie
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.[a]
7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.[b]
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
9 You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Wonderful God, it has been said that good things come in small packages. It is also true that they come in big ones too! We thank You for anticipation that builds as we wait to unwrap our gifts. We thank You for gifts received that our whole families may enjoy. Help us to enjoy each other’s company this Christmas so that we will make memories that will warm our hearts for years to come. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.