As I sat with a patient and his wife yesterday we got to talking about getting presents for loved ones for Christmas.  The patient said he liked to surprise his wife with the presents he got for her.  One year he got his wife a metal detector which she wanted but he put it in a guitar case because he knew she didn’t want a guitar.  So when they had opened all their gifts he said, “Oh, wait a minute, there is one more gift behind the couch.”  He pulled out the guitar case.  His wife said, “You know I don’t like playing the guitar!”  Her husband said, “I know.  But just open it anyway.”  When she opened it and saw the metal detector she was both relieved, surprised, and thinking about hitting him with the guitar case for tricking her.

As the patient told this story I could see that he was still enjoying reliving that Christmas once again.  He had gotten such joy out of giving her that metal detector the first time.  He had gotten joy again from retelling the story and seeing his wife’s face light again and seeing my face light up as I heard the story.  Truly this man had discovered the joy in giving.

Moments like these remind me of how this joy of giving comes from that first Christmas night when the angels appeared to the shepherds.  God was so overcome with joy that He could come into this world in human form to restore us and return us to His family that He unleashed the heavenly hosts to sing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

So as all of you finish your shopping and think about the joy you are giving to your loved ones with what you are giving them be sure to stop and listen to the angels singing as you watch them open their gifts.  So as some of you spend this Christmas in the hospital or are no longer able to be out and about remember those Christmases from years past when your heart was filled with joy at the gifts you gave and the hearts you touched.  May those memories remind you of God’s joy that His love has found a place in your heart and join again with the angel choir in singing, “Glory to God in the highest.”

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