What do we buy the kids for Christmas? Now there it is, for a young mum and dad, this has to be the most difficult of questions. Getting the answer requires stacks of nervous energy, for the answer is not easily gained.
It is just too easy to make a classic blunder in the presie buying stakes. We head off to the shops to get some good ideas - pure stupidity. Whenever we do this we usually end up with hundreds of possibilities and no presents. A clear knowledge of what we want is essential for any trip to the shops.
Anyway, we end up getting something, although maybe not paid for yet. If we are lucky some of the presents may survive till Boxing Day, a week even. What can we give the kids or grandkids that will last? They are all going to travel roads that we never even thought of. Our world is changing. What can we give them to negotiate the pitfalls of life? What do we give them to take on the journey?
A hope of the individuals inalienable place in the scheme of things;
A sense of humor;
The meaning of discipline;
The will to work. Satisfying work is certainly a lasting joy;
The knowledge of being loved beyond the demand of praise or blame, for those so loved grow strong to meet the challenges of life.
So what will we give our children?
An awareness of the beauty of life. The brilliance of a full moon, the glow of the setting sun, the flowers of spring, of growing grass, of crickets and birds. A good book on a wet day in soft lounge, a warm bed, and a hearty meal. A hand grasping and helping, impromptu praise, an unexpected kiss and a straight answer. What about enthusiasm and a sense of wonder, or the memory of a good home.
What about a sense of God's immanence in the person of Jesus? A respect for a fellow traveler who long ago strode the dusty roads of Palestine.