This will be a Christmas I will remember for the rest of my life. At about 4:30 on Christmas morning I received a call from the hospice nurse letting me know that my father had died. He had been declining for several days and it seemed fitting that he would get to go home to be with Jesus on Christmas Day. He had been waiting for this day since my mother died.
His death combined with an idea from my wife changed my outlook on the day. I have started a list of memories of my dad. I just looked through the list again and nowhere on it is there a physical gift that he gave me. In reviewing the list, I realized I had forgotten one of the greatest gifts he gave me and that was his example of spending time each day with God reading the Bible and praying. I am incredibly grateful that our relationship was not defined by stuff either given or received.
Christmas mornings used to be filled with family, but now it is just the two of us. There are very few gifts to open as we have generally given each other practical things that have been purchased and put into use as soon as we got them. What we are blessed with are Christmas cards. My wife’s idea was to take each card and read it and then pray for the family that had sent it to us. I love gifts and I love opening presents on Christmas morning. I did not miss it this year. Praying for the people that were represented by the cards was a great way to get our focus on God and others. We will do this again.
So, what did you want for Christmas? My dad wanted to go to heaven. He was so confident of his destination that he conveyed a total sense of peace to his caregivers. I cannot know for certain, but I suspect that as he was dying, he was praying for us and for his grandchildren, especially for his grandchildren who are not walking with Jesus. I doubt I will be as faithful in carrying on that practice. I do know that making regular prayer for my children, nieces, and nephews a habit will be a good way to honor my dad.
I encourage you to focus your desires on what money cannot buy. When death comes it will be these things that will matter while stuff is quickly forgotten.