I remember the first Christmas when Adelade was really big enough to have definite ideas about what she wanted to get me. Chad took her shopping a few days before Christmas, and they were extremely sneaky and secretive about the special gift that they had gotten. On Christmas morning, almost all of the presents had been opened, and the anticipation was building for the opening of my specially chosen present from Adelade.
As I opened the dad-style wrapping, Adelade’s face was bright with excitement. She leaned in as if to catch every detail of my reaction to her incredible gift. I finally peeled away the last of the wrapping paper and realized that it was….a toaster.
I smiled and thanked Adelade. Toasting bread or doing much of anything in the kitchen isn’t terribly interesting to me, but I appreciated the thought behind her gift, and more than anything, the heart behind it.
It was sweet. And then I started looking around the tree for my “real” gift. You know, like the purse or shoes or sweater or jewelry that Chad had picked out. But, I quickly realized that the toaster was the whole enchilada. The toaster was the gift.
I got up and started the cleanup of all the paper and crumpled bows. I started working on Christmas lunch. The kids played with their toys and we spent a wonderful day at home as a family. But, the entire day in the back of my mind I couldn’t get over the toaster. This voice kept going in my head: The toaster is it. That’s the gift. My Christmas present is a toaster.
The thoughts went on and on, and the whole wonderful day started to be overshadowed by my negative thinking. Before long, Christmas was just about over. The kids were in bed, tucked in tight with new toys, and I was sitting on the couch next to Chad, in the light of our beautiful Christmas tree, angry.
In my cozy house, on my comfortable couch, next to my godly, hardworking husband, with two precious kids sleeping peacefully feet away, with a Savior who loves me. Even while Jesus was still in the manger, just come to earth to lay down His life so I don’t have to. Even then. I was angry over a toaster.
I had spent the entire season claiming that I understood what Christmas is really about. I had tried to focus my children on the manger, on the cross. And, in the end, I forgot about all of the real, eternal, earth-shattering truths of Christmas and I spent the day stewing over a toaster. I remember how it shocked me, just how quickly my heart turns to worldly nothingness. How easily my mind is persuaded to focus on everything but Jesus.
Christmas is almost here. Things may not go as we had planned. We may be disappointed. We may be let down. But, I beg my own heart and yours, too, to remember that Jesus never, ever disappoints. And that is what Christmas is really about. It’s about the fact that God keeps every promise He ever made, and we see it so clearly in that stable, where the long-promised King sleeps peacefully.
I still have the now infamous toaster. It still toasts bread like a champ. And, I have to admit I’ve used it more than most gifts that I could’ve received, even though toasting bread still isn’t my favorite thing to do. But, I’m glad it’s there on my counter, a reminder that it is so easy to lose my eternal focus. Don’t do it this Christmas. Keep your eyes on the gift of Jesus, and I guarantee Christmas will mean more to you than any piece of jewelry ever could. For that lesson, and because I adore my sweet Adelade, I am thankful for my tried and true, fifty dollar, bagel-compliant, multiple setting, stainless steel toaster. That and Jesus. What more could a girl really ask for this Christmas?