The presents have all been unwrapped, but the tree is still shining and I can't sleep. Thinking about the gifts we gave you for Christmas, and what things I really wish I could give you, if I could give you anything . . .
I would give you mystery. I hope that everything doesn't ever make perfect sense to you. I hope you will embrace that gap, will peer into it with childlike faith and hope and imagination.
The gift of laughter. Especially at those times when life is too serious, too dark, too ordinary. I wish I could give you the ability to find the irony, the hilarious, the deep gut-busting soul-cleansing kind of laughter that heals you.
Art. Art in word or image or song or friend. I hope, when you need it most, you will find art that blows away the dust, sings you to sleep, shatters your idols, saves you.
The grace of failure. If I could, I would let you fail enough for you to understand grace, how to give and to receive it, but protect you from the failures that will break your heart.
Healthy debate. Just when you begin to think you know everything.
A true friend.
Silence. To hear the snow crunch. To hear the still small voice.
Story. Your own, the story of people, the story of God. The ability to enter into story; to be moved, believe, become.
Language. The strength of words, of understanding, the wealth of vocabulary.
Wonder. I hope that storms and stars, science and art and green green grass will always take your breath away.
The ability to forgive. This gift will always be the hardest, the most painful, the most necessary.
To see the Good, the God-image, in every person.
Simplicity. Simplicity of faith, simplicity of wealth, simplicity of purpose, simplicity of desire.
Gratitude. "It is gratefulness which makes the soul great."
Freedom and rest in the unchanging, everlasting love of Christ.
I know I cannot give you these things; I am only beginning to learn how to accept them myself. But every year when I fill your stocking, and every day these are what I hope for you to find, at the times when you need them most.