Christmas Gift by Grace D. Chong

Posted: December 21, 2012 in Christmas

Grace ChongChristmas is just a few days away and amidst all the gift-buying, traffic-rushing, party-hopping activities, it is a time for us to reflect on the real reason why we are celebrating this holiday.

Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing with you some thoughts and stories from our beloved OMF Lit authors on what Christmas really means for us who believe that that Child born in the manger is the salvation of this world.

Today, we’re featuring Palanca-award winner Grace D. Chong, author of the Oh Mateo series, Grace Found Me, Solo Flight and What, Me Retire? as she shares the most precious gift of all.

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Let’s eavesdrop on a strange conversation:

Husband (to wife): I still haven’t bought your Christmas gift.

Wife: Neither have I bought yours.

Silence.

Husband: What if . . .

Wife (finishing her husband’s sentence): . . . you don’t give me any, then I don’t need to give you any either?

Husband (beaming): Deal!

Wife: Deal . . .

That conversation may sound strange, but it’s true. It was between my husband and me.

Despite our pact, however, I felt guilty for not being thoughtful enough to think of something to give him this Christmas. So I quickly summoned a bright idea.

Wrap “What, Me Retire?” my latest book on discovering more blessings after leaving the workplace. I have received encouraging reviews from many readers and my family, except from my husband. He has not read the book.

How do I know? He never said a peep about it, not even about that part where his name is mentioned. What a pity, the title is his pet phrase (said with vehemence) when friends talk about retirement.

Just in time I unearthed an e-mail written after Christmas last year.

Question: Did you get everything you want this Christmas?

Answer: No. But then it is not my birthday. Did you give the Celebrant what He wants this Christmas?

That hit home. No matter how often we remind ourselves that Christmas is not about us, we lapse. We spin around buying gifts; we squeeze into shops stuffed with shoppers.

Better than a hundred Post-it, the Bible reminds us that this event, which we celebrate with elaborate rituals, is about the lowly birth in a manger. It is the coming of a Savior who left His heavenly riches to become poor because He loves us so much He made a way—the only way—for us to be re-connected to God.

This holy event, the divine night when God became man birthed Hope. But our self-absorbed fixation to wrapped gifts takes our focus away from the greatest Gift any man could ever receive.

I abandoned the bright idea of wrapping “What, Me Retire?” and a brighter idea took its place. I put my newest magnum opus inside a glossy red paper bag . . . and set it aside for another time—Valentine’s Day.

That’s still two long months away. So to force the issue now (young readers insist it is a must-read for people of all ages), I will strew copies in nooks at home where he sits. I will likewise deposit one on his bedside table.

Setting gift-wrapping aside, I now fix my eyes upon the Gift.

“Fall on your knees

Oh hear the angel voices

Oh night divine

Oh night when Christ was born

Oh night divine

Oh night divine.”

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