I remember my first Christmas as a father. It changed my life. It was then, and remains today, about the great love that I have for my son. It is the closest I can come to tangentially understanding the love our Father in Heaven has for us.
I remember the Christmas Eve church services, holding my little guy in my arms as we sang hymns and listened to the sermon message. I remember how it felt as new Christians, sharing in the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior during the candle light services. I can still see the wonder in my son’s eyes as he stared wide-eyed at the candles.
My son was always in my arms, and or on my lap, but there was something special about holding him at Christmas. Having his fingers play with my chin and/or nose – those moments for me spoke so profoundly of the love of God. I understood that if I could have such a great depth of love for my little guy, how much greater love God must have toward us that he would send His Son to die for our sins. Even today I am reminded of the love God has for us, when I consider the love I have for my son.
Of all the Christmas moments, it was my son’s fifth Christmas that was one of the most special.
His mother and I, with his help and input, selected his presents, and my job was to brave the stores and lines while the two of them were busy decorating at home. That particular Christmas we had discovered Ikea. The idea of “easy to assemble” and “no tools needed” was enticing language in the store circulars and while at the store – but as I was to find out soon enough – nothing could have been further from the truth.
Home I came from Ikea – the station wagon loaded with the “easy to assemble, no tools needed” closet and desk for our little guy. Getting the things from inside the Ikea store to the car was easy with the assistance of their carts and employees to help. Getting the items from the car to the house was much different. Suffice it to say that that should have been a forewarning for what was to come. But I digress.
The weather forecast was for an all-out blizzard Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I promised my son that when I was done putting his closet and desk together we would go for a ride in the snow before he went to bed.
As I recall, the “easy to assemble, no tools needed” project got under way early afternoon. By 10 p.m., the snow had pretty much shut things down on our rural road. By 11:30 p.m., it was a white-out. And by 12:30 a.m., with my knuckles scraped, fingers pinched and tongue bleeding from biting it to prevent my shouting out “Oh $%&#” many times, the “easy to assemble, no tools needed” project was completed.
My son had fallen asleep, curled up in the recliner, and his mother had put him to bed shortly after 10 p.m. But I had promised him we would go for a ride in the snow, and except when something was beyond my control I kept my word to him.
So, with nerves frazzled, my hands and tongue sore, I told his mother I was going to get him up so we could go for our ride in the snow. I gently awakened him, and his mother bundled him up while I went to warm up the car. And so, shortly after 1 a.m. my son, two German Shepherds and Pedro (which I called our almost Labrador, because he was a mix), loaded into the car and drove up the unplowed road, turned the corner and came back down, and turned up our lane where we got stuck midway to our driveway.
His mother was watching us get stuck from his bedroom window. I shut the car off, and we all piled out – three dogs and an armful of son. But, it’s no fun being in the snow if you don’t take at least one roll in it, so as I recall we took a couple rolls.
Then back in the house we went, leaving our snowy clothing and the snowy dogs by our wood-burning parlor stove. And as I said good night to my son, his “thank you Dad” once again reminded me of how our Heavenly Father must feel when we accept His Free Gift of Salvation by believing in His Son.
It was a special moment that I will never forget. Today, as I write this, I understand the parallels of a promise kept and the joyful receiving of same by my son who had to awake from his sleep to accept and receive it. In my humanity there are, to my chagrin, times I’ve let my son down, but my love for him has only grown each and every day.
But, God, our Loving and Gracious Heavenly Father, will never let us down or abandon us. No matter how things may look at a particular time in our lives – His grace will always be sufficient.
This memory is preciously etched in the fabric of my being.
I wish you all a blessed and Spirit-filled Christmas. May the love and grace of our Father in Heaven, through Christ Jesus His Son, be yours at this time and forever.