The Most Wonderful Gift

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
— 2 Corinthians 9:15

Strains of “Joy to the World” drifted backstage where the children were taking their places for the church Christmas program. Nancy, a tired single-mother who’d directed this extravaganza since her boy was five, rushed from child to child checking their costumes, wiping noses, and pulling a shepherd staff from Mary’s tangled hair. Nancy had always loved helping children tell the story of how God sent His son to the world. But this year, she couldn’t seem to summon any joy. Her son, now a successful trauma surgeon, was on call on the other side of the country and could not fly home. She bristled at how God had not given her the only thing she wanted for Christmas . . . her son.

The parking lot was dark by the time Nancy locked up the church and fell into her car. Her phone buzzed. The name on the blue screen made her smile and weep at the same time.

“I’m on a short break. How did the show go, Mom?” her son sounded irritatingly upbeat.

Desperate to keep him on the line, she told him about how one of the little shepherds tripped and wiped out two sheep and the manger, then asked, “How’s your night been?”

“Eventful. Gratifying.” His voice was bright as he told her about saving a young mother whose car had been totaled by a semi. “She was a mess, Mom, but with God’s help, I saved her.”

In that moment Nancy realized God had given her an incredible gift, a Christmas present even better than letting her son come home. God had let her see that her sacrifice had allowed her son to be exactly where he needed to be. He’d granted her a peek into the divine loneliness of a Father willing to send His Son far from home. And most surprising of all, God let her experience a fraction of His joy when Jesus rose victorious and proclaimed, “I saved them, Father.”

Today’s One Thing

Amid the frenzy of unwrapping gifts and making the meal, take a moment today to thank God for the most incredible gift you have ever received . . . the saving gift of His Son.

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