Christmas is right around the corner. While time is flying by too quickly as far as I am concerned, it is dragging painfully slowly for my children. My boys (ages 8 1/2 and 7) are literally bursting with excitement. Each day is one day closer to, as they put it, "The best day of the whole year." This is the first year we have put some of their presents under the tree early, trusting them not to open them. This doesn't mean that they can't shake, examine, and carry them around! They have been having great fun doing this. There is all that magic and fun waiting inside those boxes and they just can't quite get to it. The anticipation and dreaming of what might be inside is almost as good as the opening itself. I can only hope that the presents inside live up to their expectations!
The best present I ever got as a child was a dollhouse. I loved dolls and dollhouses and had been begging my parents to get me one. The Christmas I was seven, there was a huge box under the tree. I just knew that was my dollhouse. I couldn't wait to open it! We always had the tradition of opening one present Christmas Eve after we went to Mass. I knew which one I wanted to open. My parents refused, however, telling me to open a smaller one. I had to wait one more day to get the present I wanted more than anything. When I finally did get to open it, I was so happy. It was a kit, and my father lovingly spent the next few weeks putting it together for me. I got years of enjoyment out of that dollhouse. Even now, it still sits in my old room at my parents' house. It is old and dilapidated and hasn't been played with in years, but it still brings a smile to my face. For me, that dollhouse represents the joy in my childhood.
I know Christmas isn't about the presents (although I do desperately need the new wallet I asked my husband to get me!). My children know this, too. Their excitement about them, however, started me thinking about the greatest gift of Christmas - the gift of Jesus and the promise of eternal life. Heaven is the best present ever. Right now, we are in that state of anticipation. We can shake the box, and on our best, happiest, days perhaps get a glimpse of what heaven might be like. Unlike Christmas presents that come in a box, however, which often don't live up to the expectations, Heaven will exceed all our imaginings. Our anticipation will be rewarded. It will be better than the best Christmas present we ever received. It is time to get excited! Christmas (and it's promise of salvation and eternal life) is coming!