Last Tuesday I was a bit strung out. I had to make an unexpected trip into the city to help direct a rehearsal for the Christmas production I had written. Opening night was Friday, and the final scene wasn’t coming together. The pressure was on to sort it out. To make it meaningful. To pierce twelve thousand hearts with the truth of God’s Greatest Gift.
I picked up Daryl from Kindergarten and took him with me. On the way downtown, we stopped at the mall to get lunch and some dress shoes for his Thursday Christmas program.
Near the exit of the mall, Daryl spotted one of those candy machines. Put a quarter in and get a handful of Mike and Ike. I usually say, “No.” But he was being such a good sport, I gave in.
As his little hand filled with the fruity bits, he said, “Mama, can I save TWO candies for Daddy and eat the rest myself?” I had explained to him that we would be picking up Daddy at his office and taking him to the rehearsal with us. I needed all the support I could get.
“Of course, Daryl,” I said. “It’s very loving of you to think of Daddy like that.” He beamed.
We put his candies into the front pocket of his hoody, buckled up, and set out on the long drive. He sang me the Christmas songs from his Christmas program and told me about his day. Then when we were approaching the city, he piped up from the back, “Mama, can I save ONE candy for Daddy and eat the rest myself?”
I smiled. “Yes, Daryl. They’re your candies. You can make the decision about what to do with them. It’s loving of you to give even one to Daddy.” These acts of spontaneous generosity are rare, so I’m afraid I go overboard on the encouragement when they happen.
A few minutes later we pulled into the parking garage. Daryl could hardly contain himself by that point. “I can’t wait to give this candy to Daddy!” he said over and over again. I parked the car, got out, and opened his door.
There he sat, proudly pinching the slimy white center of a Mike and Ike, smiling from ear to ear.
Before I could stop myself, I blurted, “Did you suck on it, Daryl?” His face fell, and I tried to recover. “It’s okay, honey. Daddy will still love it. That was loving of you to save the middle for Daddy. That’s the best part.”
He climbed out of the car, took my hand, and we went to find Daddy. When we arrived at the office, Daryl said, “I have something for you, Daddy!” Then he reached into his hoody pocket and pulled out the gooey middle of the Mike and Ike—now covered in navy blue fuzz.
Daddy gave me a quizzical look, but then played along. “Wow, Daryl, thank you so much!” And not missing a beat, he popped the fuzzy offering into his mouth.
That Tuesday night rehearsal was still rough. I just couldn’t get it right. Some people were frustrated. Some were anxious. All were exhausted.
We decided to give it a rest and try again on Thursday—one hour before dress rehearsal. In the meantime, I prayed hard and listened.
Praise God, He gave clarity for the final scene. Praise God, He gave our talented cast the patience and giftedness to adapt to last-minute direction. Praise God, the Christmas production was more beautiful and meaningful than I could have imagined.
And Praise God, he keeps us humble and dependent. We sometimes think we have to do great things for God, don’t we? That it depends on us. And on the one hand, I am a firm believer in excellence. Our God deserves no less.
On the other hand, though, I realize more and more that all I have to offer of my own accord is slimy blue fuzz. I am nothing without Him. It takes the pressure off when we’re okay with that. And it focuses the spotlight back where it belongs, back on our Father who tenderly takes our sticky gifts, savors them, turns them into whatever will give him glory, and says, “Wow, child! Thank you so much.”
I’d love to hear how you are savoring his abundant gifts this season!