The night before Christmas I used be full of anticipation. I’d listen to my mother wrapping presents on the ironing board, the thump of boxes, the screech of paper being ripped, and folded around her gifts in the room next to mine. She worked late into the night. I fell asleep hoping I’d see my desires fulfilled.
My parents put a lot of thought into our gifts. I still own the glass panther and unicorn they commissioned for my brother and me. One Christmas, my father replaced my mother’s lost diamond with a diamond I put on after they died, finding deep comfort, that I wear to this day. I was embarrassed by my parents’ lavish generosity. But giving gifts was how they showed love. Quietly they paid the bills.
Even though I outgrew that Christmas eve anticipation, I learned that our desires are granted. Even our longings for what C.S. Lewis called joy, our longing to light up like autumn leaves glowing in late afternoon light, show that even that thirst will be slaked.
These days I wake up looking for the gifts I might find -- the bars of light slapped against barn boards because the sun is setting that far south and shining through the door, the sandhill crane, flying low and elegant, over the road, the cat’s weight on my lap, my husband’s warmth in the morning. These days the saying, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” runs through my mind.