A couple of days ago we celebrated Christmas - our special day - with family, friends and loved ones. Both the wrapped and unwrapped gifts under the Christmas Tree have either been unwrapped, seen and/or touched. We had already begun to use our gifts, or we have decided to keep them for another day. Some were unhappy with their gifts because they expected more; others were happy that they simply received a gift. There are also those for whom Christmas was a difficult time, and so had little appetite for any celebration or gifts. In any case, whether you were happy with your gift or not, or simply didn’t have enough within you to share a gift or celebrate this Christmas, there's an opportunity for a fulfilling Christmas in the years to come.
Christmas, no doubt, is a season of giving and a time of enormous generosity. Of the many stories of giving that I heard, one that captured my attention, made me tear up, and also put more than a smile on my face was about Kansas City Royals prospect Brady Singer.
Brady was recently drafted by the Kansas City Royals, and given a $4.25 million sign-on bonus. As a Christmas gift to his parents, Brady paid off the loans that his parents had at their bank, and all of their other outstanding debt. In the letter to his parents, Brady wrote, “Your giving hearts helped shape my tiny dream into reality.” What a powerful statement!!
His parents couldn’t believe what they were reading. It was a teary moment for them, as it was for me. As parents, it is possible that at a far distant point in Brady’s life they wondered how they would pay off all they debt they were accruing in order to support his tiny dream. They may have questioned themselves about whether Brady acknowledges the sacrifices they were making to support and nurture the dream that he referred to as "tiny". Most parents go through such moments and, as draining as they may be, there’s nothing as fulfilling as seeing your child succeed or, at the barest minimum, acknowledging and affirming a parent’s sacrifice.
If Brady’s parents had any doubts in their minds, those were put to rest with that life-changing letter. Their son, at the very least, possessed a depth of self-awareness which can often provoke a deep sense of gratitude. For the many Christmases they had shared between them, this was no doubt a very special Christmas, indeed.
In a very real way, Brady’s attitude defines God’s expectation of us. We have been blessed, incredibly blessed, with the indescribable gift of the Christ-child. We cannot repay God for his gracious gift to us. But then, do we possess Brady’s sense of awareness, the one which provokes gratitude to God for His gracious giving to us, and for sustaining and nurturing our "tiny" dreams into reality? A gift at Christmas may not necessarily be enough to compensate for how much you mean to someone, or vice versa, but it is enough to establish a sense of gratitude. I think there’s nothing more rewarding and fulfilling than that assurance Brady desired to establish this week... to have his parents know that he is grateful. We can also be grateful, and there’s no doubt in my mind that when we are actually filled with gratitude, Christmas becomes very special to the people we love. Manny.