My Christmas Gift Bought with a Child’s Heart

My son’s eyes sparkled like sun kissed waters when he pulled a bright red package from under the tree. His little hands reverently held the wrapped box, its smashed bow wobbled, as if ready to lean over the edge and run away.  

He looked my way.

Suddenly shy, my six-year-old hesitated, a worried brow replaced his eagerness. His eyes lost some of their shiny dance. Grasped between small hands of offering, he stretched it toward me, then sat back on his haunches. Behind him, lights from the tree twinkled, a kaleidoscope halo of color. His eyes never left mine, and I recognized how desperately he desired to please me with his present. I saw bare longing in his wide broody dark blue eyes. I felt their desire. 

You see, he had bought it with his heart. Coins he’d spilled across his bed from his Star Wars canister transformed into the wrapped Christmas gift I held. But the real value came from a heart that loved. Desperate in that moment to please, he yearned for his gift to be exactly what his mommy had wanted all her life long. 

I saw the hope on his little face and I knew that whatever lay hidden inside, was a treasure beyond anything I could ever deserve. I could not measure up as a mommy to the pureness of my child’s devotion. I felt flawed and imperfect, next to the treasure of such affection. Humbled and grateful beyond measure, I reached to embrace it, to pull his little boy warmth into the circle of my arms.  

Christmas, marked by gifts we carefully and not-so-carefully hunt down, pick and choose, is full of expectation. Embellished with greens and reds, perfumed with cinnamon and spices its season delights some but saddens others. It excites and exhausts. Lights, songs and nativity figurines furnish atmosphere. We find the eyes of our hearts desperate to be swept into something better. We look with longing for something truly priceless and enduring. 

It was a busy yet still night long ago when the barriers of time and heaven were shattered by the birth of a baby boy. The gift, neither merited nor deserved, was wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

Gold, frankincense and myrrh, carried later by an entourage of stargazers, over miles of rough terrain, were laid at the feet of a child. 

Did they too suddenly wonder, did we pick the right gift? Should we have chosen something different? Is this appropriate? Will He like our offerings?  

Gold fit for a king, frankincense an incense used in worship, and myrrh prized for its health benefits were costly and precious. 

Did their wealth and pomp melt, inadequate before the King of Kings? Did they suddenly feel unworthy as they looked into the child eyes of the Son of God? Did the Majesty of a humble boy make them small?

“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 NKJV

What greater treasure could they bestow than to fall down at the feet of the divine Christ and worship? The true gifts of the magi didn’t come because of the place they acquired them or the amount they spent. The glint of gold or fragrant scented air could never have equaled the response of their hearts. In an obscure village, to a child lacking world’s fame or prestige, they fell down and worshipped. 

They shed themselves to pay homage to Someone greater. 

I’m frantically checking off amazon lists and winging presents in a bit of a dither to 14 grandchildren, their parents, and my friends. At this point I can barely remember who got what, when it will arrive or the names of my children and grandchildren. 

Like a Christmas Mary and Martha, magi and grandma, I’m far too wrapped up in gifts. I’m Christmas consumed and consumer. Much more needed is the treasure of a heart in awe of Immanuel, God with Us. 

It’s the gift we waited for all our lives. 

Honestly, I don’t remember what I unwrapped from my son that Christmas morning. But I won’t forget my son’s hopeful eyes those many years ago. I still remember their pleading as he stretched out his gift toward me. I can still feel his heart beating against mine. 

Today I renew my resolve to bring the simple delight of a devoted, submitted worshipper to the feet of my Savior. I gather the gifts of my heart, wrapped in shabby coverings of sorrow and joy. These I lay before Him. They are priceless and enduring to Someone who loves me beyond measure. 

In the mayhem of delivered boxes and gift-wrap, I sit back and smile. Jesus is delighted with my gift. 


*feature photo by Philip Schroeder

32 Replies

  1. Lois S. Reply

    Beautiful! Your writing is also a gift of heart.

  2. Jan Puffenberger Reply

    A beautiful story, Sylvia! I can just picture Justin as a six year old, looking similar to Roman. I never thought about how the wise men must have felt giving their offerings to baby Jesus. Thank you!

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      Jan, he did look so much like Roman! Thanks for reading. I love hearing from you!

  3. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, this is one of the most beautiful and meaningful Christmas posts I’ve read. Your descriptions of the Magis approaching the Christ Child brought a sense of worship that will deepen my Christmas celebration.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      Jeannie, thank you so very much. I am really honored by your comment. I am grateful you feel it helpful in your own adoration of the Savior this season. Blessings dear friend!

  4. Candyce Carden Reply

    What a powerful punch in the gut this is. It certainly helps keep Christmas in perspective. He’s not that hard to please, our heavenly Father.

  5. Sylvia A Schroeder Reply

    Thanks Candyce! You are right. He is so happy to receive the feeble gifts of our hearts. He is indeed a wonderful Father.

  6. J.D. Wininger Reply

    It took me a while to find the words to use in commenting here. Humbled, convicted, treasured, and loved all come to mind. Oh what a wonderful treasure our memories like this can be. I pray your son has stored up a chest full of precious memories like this. Your post brought back wonderful CHRISTmas memories for me also Ms. Sylvia. I think my greatest will always be watching my adopted mom and dad the CHRISTmas when the last gift under the tree was mine. A framed adoption certificate and a note that shared how much they had grown to love me. I saw then what God’s love must truly look like. Thank you for the wonderful blessing of memory my friend.

  7. Jennifer Knight Reply

    This is one of my favorite posts. I had a similar experience with each of my children. I never thought about the Magi and how they may have felt about their gifts. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  8. Barb Fox Reply

    Your words brought tears to my eyes, and they brought your message straight to my heart. I look at God with unnecessary worry in my eyes when I wonder if He will be pleased with my gifts. Thanks to His Son “He will delight in [me] with shouts of joy” (Zeph 3:17 HCSB)

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Barb, Your comment is truly meaningful to me. I love that verse and it always touches my heart. Thanks!

  9. Marcella Schrag Reply

    You spoke to my heart and blessed me once again. How beautiful and meaningful.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      You couldn’t have given me a better gift, cousin!! Thank you. Merry Christmas to you all.

  10. Cynthia L. Eppley Reply

    This is an amazing post: poignant, heartfelt, sacred.
    Thankyou for capturing Biblical truths and the heart of a child.

  11. Barbara Reply

    So what was the gift? You left us hanging!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Barbara, I honestly don’t remember, but I think it might have been a cow creamer.

  12. Katherine Pasour Reply

    What a beautiful memory, Sylvia, and your description reminded me of precious moments with my own children. Like you, I sometimes get caught up in the bustle of Christmas and the need to accomplish so much. But as Jesus reminded Martha, only one thing is important and that is our relationship with Him. Just as your son gave you his gift of love, I think Jesus is most pleased with our gift of love to Him. Wishing you a joyous Christmas.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. I’m glad you have sweet memories as well of your children. Yes, one thing is important. Grateful Jesus is always ready with the gift of love both to give and receive. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas too!

  13. Nancy E. Head Reply

    Gifts from the heart are the best. And God wants all our gifts to be from our hearts too. Beautiful post!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Nancy. I needed the reminder. Our gift giving gets complicated as we have a bunch of family birthdays as well during this time. Grateful for God’s reminder of a heart of love. And I am so thankful He is the true Giver of love!

  14. Kathy Reply

    Such a beautiful memory and lasting lesson for us. Thank you, Sylvia! I love your phrase, “It was a busy yet still night long ago when the barriers of time and heaven were shattered by the birth of a baby boy.” so descriptive and true!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Kathy. I’m so glad it resonated. I appreciate you reading it and commenting!

  15. Linda Lou Brucato Reply

    How beautiful! You made me wonder what exactly did Mary and Joseph do with those gifts. Perhaps it is how they managed to escape to Eygpt and have the means to keep them there. Thanks Sylvia!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Yes, I’ve thought of that as well. Certainly the gold would have been helpful in the journey and life. Thank you so much Linda. Always an encouragement to hear your thoughts!

  16. Lois S. Reply

    The beauty of this post moved me to tears on this second reading. “We look for something priceless and enduring.” “They shed themselves to pay homage to someone greater.” Despite our efforts to the contrary, it is so easy to become “Christmas consumed and consumer.” So many holiday tasks that I really want to complete– newsletters to send, peppernuts to bake, and so much more. Parents near the end of their lives that I want to help with their outreach attempts. Thanks once again for your perspective. It is beautiful.