When you get to be my age the Christmas gifts you receive aren’t what they used to be. When we were a child we pretended to sleep on Christmas Eve and, much to the chagrin of your parents, dashed to the decorated tree at the earliest possible moment – around 4:30 AM. We danced with glee as we tore into the packages and beheld, with great joy, what delights that awaited us. The toys were our treasures  and the object of our ecstatic desire. (On a side note, isn’t it a shame that many folks still think that their “toys” are their treasure and fail to recognize Jesus, the real gift of Christmas, is what lastingly captivates and fully satisfies).

Later we become adults, sometimes spouses and parents. We then live out this process vicariously through children. We find a measure of gladness in watching them mesmerized by the magic of Christmas (or at least mesmerized by the presents and lore of the holiday). They behave as we did when we were young and we, in a sleep deprived stupor, relive those moments of exhilaration that we once felt. The tree, and its treasure, is the pivotal and central figure in the experience we adoringly call Christmas.

Finally our children grow up and we pray for grandchildren so this delusion can continue. Such is the case with me. My son is a mature 21 year old trying to figure whether to enter a Master’s degree program or go directly into doctoral work (My gracious, he was just born last week!). This year I will get some new tennis shoes (which I desperately need) and I got my son a new Nike golf bag (I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how all of his golf equipment costs three times as much as mine did). My son, Samuel, got his gifts early this year and picked them all out himself. It seems as if he’s lost the childlike magic found in packages and presents way too quickly for me. I never know what he might get me but it usually is a mall gift card. That works for me – I can use it to buy the golf balls I will lose as he totes around his fancy golf bag, clubs, and apparel while beating me by 4 strokes.

But this year I got a surprise gift from my son. After my verbose and mindless driveling on the attributes of social networking he joined Facebook. Is that a great gift, you think? No, not really. The gift came when I “friended” him (I was his second friend and the first to write something , and I literally wrote “SOMETHING”, on his wall) and was able to peruse his profile. In the section labeled “religious views” he simple put “Jesus is the man”.  Wow! “Jesus is the man” – I’ve never heard it put any better.

Talking about joy, glee, delight, treasure, gladness, and satisfaction all rolled into one surreal moment – that was it for me. It was the magic of Christmas in the most profound sense – the holiday spirit of all of my years captured in four very significant words. But of course it wasn’t about physical presents or toys. No toy or present under a holiday tree can compare to the gift that Christ has given Samuel by becoming cursed and hanging on the tree of Calvary for him (Galatians 3:13). This is the best gift I will receive this year – knowing that my only child believes that “Jesus is the man”! And knowing that I do, too!