By Aileen Weik
I was thirteen years old when I first realized the Christmas morning tradition I knew may not be the norm. This revelation surfaced as my brothers and I watched a video of how my triplet cousins opened their presents on Christmas morning. In equal parts shock and amusement, and maybe a bit of horror, we watched dumbfounded as they ran down the steps and started tearing into boxes, opening each other’s gifts and yelling across the room to let the other person know what they got. The mound of presents was reduced to a pile of tattered gift wrap in a matter of minutes.
The pandemonium witnessed in the video was so foreign to me because the Christmas tradition I grew up with was all about savoring. My mom must have said the word “savor” at least fifty times every Christmas morning. As we awoke on Dec 25th, our stockings would be hidden in each other’s bedrooms: a clever ruse so we had to wait until everyone was awake before we could begin. We then opened our stockings in my parents’ bedroom. After that, my dad would pick one of us to go downstairs with him and get the first look at all the presents and help him get some snacks ready. The rest of the family then joined downstairs and we would open the presents one at a time in a perfectly orderly fashion. If it was clothes, we tried them on. If it was a game or toy, we opened it and showed how it worked. After each round of gifts, my mom would pick one of us to open an envelope from the tree. Inside these envelopes were cards my mom had given to us to fill out earlier in the month with a few things we appreciated about one another. Once half of the gifts were opened, we would stop and have breakfast in the dining room. Then after breakfast we’d go back to the living room to finish the rest of the gifts and envelopes.
As much as my brothers and I poked fun at my mom for how much we had to savor on Christmas morning … savor the gifts, savor each other, savor our time together, I’ve grown extremely appreciative for this tradition. To savor is to enjoy something for as long as possible or to delight in. And what more should Christmas be about than having pure delight in Jesus and enjoying the fact that he was born for us? I pray my children learn to savor the gifts they are given, savor one another, and savor our time together as a family on Christmas morning. But even more, I pray they grow to savor the Savior. And I hope we all can take delight in His birth this Christmas morning.