When I was younger, I loved watching my pile of gifts grow under the tree. I’d count them, shake them and keep a mental list of everything I expected to open on Christmas. When I was right, I was right. When I was wrong, well, at least I had a new ugly sweater to wear…in Florida. (To be fair, I liked it at the time. Sort of.) Wish lists fulfilled or not, it was all about m-o-i. Or me, if you don’t parlez le francais.
I was kind of a scrooge.
I don’t think it was because I was any more selfish than the rest of the me-centered teenagers of the world. I did think to get my parents a little something — you know, a really thoughtful gift like a bracelet with “Mom” bedazzled on it. But I didn’t think about anybody else. And I don’t think it’s because I didn’t love anybody else, but because I was afraid of gift giving. Really, afraid? Really!
Giving somebody you love a gift requires vulnerability.
In my world, vulnerability is about as scary as cargo pants or the lift not going up during Defying Gravity. (My heart just stopped for a second — I’m okay now.) When you hand over a gift, you’re handing over a piece of your love. You’re saying, “Here I am. This is me. I hope you like it.”
I’m blessed because God has used my marriage to break down my walls, take me out of my comfort zone and into the realm of vulnerability, of honesty and truth. It was Megan who taught me, okay, forced me into the joy of gift giving. Our first Christmas together was my second-worst nightmare come true: vulnerability all over the place.
As I pushed through, step by step, I began to realize there’s something holy about truly giving a gift, no strings attached (unless they’re pretty ribbons). I saw that the sacrifice of my pride was worth it. It didn’t matter that it was uncomfortable and scary, because when Megan opened her gifts from me, I knew that she knew that I really did love her.