Sam has been hunting for presents for a solid week.
There are only a few under the tree, and he knows I bought more, so he's been prowling around the house, trying to unearth them.
Last Saturday, Patrick and I took the kids out to buy presents for each other. Doing errands with four kids in Christmas crowds - well, a bit taxing. By the time we got home, I wanted to hide in our room for a while, or better yet, jump in the car and just drive. Patrick read my mind. "Why don't you run up to the city and go to Costco?" he suggested. "I'll give the kids supper and have them ready for bed by the time you come home."
I grabbed the grocery bags and took off. A Christmas shopping trip, alone! I turned on the radio and sped off through the sunshine to Costco.
The store was busy. I didn't have to take anyone to the bathroom when we got there. I shopped in a blissful haze of kidlessness. I filled up my cart and then loaded it into the truck. It was full. Every carseat had something buckled into it - I was astonished to notice that I actually had a truck full of groceries.
There was a time not too long ago when Patrick and I were poor students, getting by on leftovers that we brought home from work. We certainly didn't have a truck or groceries to put in it. And suddenly I realized that this wasn't a truck full of errands. So much more than mere groceries. It was jam-packed with gifts.
Just like Sam's presents in our bedroom, in the front closet. He can't find his presents because they don't look like presents. I haven't wrapped them. They're sitting meekly in wrinkled plastic bags or brown Amazon boxes. They look like groceries. Like errands. He pushes past them every time, expecting something that looks different -
Sometimes God cleverly disguises gifts as groceries.
A few minutes to myself.
A thoughtful husband.
And I miss them, walk right on by, worried that He might forget me.
And the gifts actually are all around -
Merry Christmas, friends.