“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” ~ Matthew 2:11d

If you took a poll of children and asked what their favorite part of Christmas is, 9 out of 10 would say “opening presents”. And that 10th kid who gave the different answer? He really wanted to say presents, too, but he just didn’t want to say the same thing everybody else said. I know this, because I would have been that 10th kid.

Few things capture the wonder, the joy, the anticipation of the season like kids on Christmas morning. They can hardly sleep the night before, and get up way before the sun. When it finally comes time to open their gifts, they tear into them. And if we would admit it, we parents are breaking our necks to get them presents every year because we love seeing the looks on their faces when they open them. That look of surprise, delight, and sheer joy.

In the South we have a thing called a “sercie”. It’s a gift you give “just because”. For years I thought it was something my wife made up when she was little until I saw an article about it in a magazine. When my kids were really little, I would always try to bring home a sercie for thgem every time I traveled. They would meet me at their door, and as soon as they figured out what was going on, they would close their eyes and hold out their hands in anticipation.

Christmas is the time we celebrate the big ole sercie God has given us. Yes, we could get into a theological debate about “for God so loved the world”, but I think you could just as easily translate John 3:16 as “God gave us his only son just because”. Just because he loves us. Just because he wants to see the looks on our faces. Just because he is God.

This Christmas, give gifts “just because”. And when you see the look on recipients’ faces, remember that’s the look God wants to see on ours. And that’s the look he has on his face when we are in right relationship with him.

The gift of Christmas leads to sheer joy. Which, conveniently enough, is what I’ll be talking about the next few days 🙂