Gifts Without Bows: Santa’s Will for My life
Editor’s note: Isabella Rollins earned an honorable mention for this entry in the 2015 Seton Christmas Essay contest.
Have you ever reminisced of Christmases long ago while you scanned through old pictures or videos? Remember when all you cared about at the time was what was inside the present from Santa?
I still recall the days when my only priority was to fall asleep on Christmas Eve and then jump out of bed at five in the morning to find the newest toy; the one I had been fantasizing about the entire year, sitting nicely wrapped under the Christmas tree. I would race down the stairs and tear through the living room to the long awaited toys.
After all the gifts were freed from their papery bondage, I would proceed to separate them into two piles: the “good pile” that was filled with all the newest and most expensive gizmos and then the “bad pile” overflowing with socks from Grandma, a microscope from my scientist uncle, and the different pairs of pajamas that my mom buys every year.
Ironically, around a month after Christmas, I often got bored with the new toys that I had waited for all year long.
As the years have gone by, I realize that I am no longer awaiting the expensive gizmos, but am more anticipating the cute pair of socks that my grandmother sends carefully wrapped with love; and I am eager to find out what cute Christmas pajamas are waiting for me under the Christmas tree.
Over the years, I have come to realize that the best gift doesn’t come with a bow, but it is the gift of love that really counts.
As an only child for thirteen years, I had wanted a sibling for a great deal of time. Therefore, when my mom told me that she was pregnant just two Christmases ago, I was overjoyed! I realized that news of a new life was the greatest gift that I could have ever received that Christmas.
I have come to realize that I should not take any gift from God for granted because when I come to expect something to always be, God may remind me that He can take away His gifts.
For example, just about a month before my mom’s due date, she noticed that the baby was not as active, so she decided to go to the doctor’s office and make sure that everything was ok with her pregnancy. God reminded my family that the gift of life is truly a thing to be cherished when my mom’s ultrasound turned into an emergency c-section.
Fortunately, the doctor’s decision brought our family a new bundle of joy! This experience gave us a new respect for the gifts of life and love that the Lord blesses each and every one of us with every day.
When I was younger, I would get mad if Santa did not give me all the gifts on my wish list. I would ask my mom if I was on the naughty list because I did not find all twenty-two toys wrapped nicely under the tree full of pine needles. My mom would tell me that Santa knew what toys I would have the most fun playing with and appreciate the most.
If I viewed Santa as God in this instance, I could easily identify the similarities between the will of Santa for my life and the will of God for my soul. For example, if Santa’s will for me as a small child was that I should be happy, then Santa should do the best to keep me cheerful all year around. However, on occasion, Santa did not bring me a certain present because it was not in my best interest.
God will often act similarly in answering my prayers with one of three explanations: yes, not at the moment, and I have a better plan for you in mind. During my childhood, I learned to respect the decisions of Santa Claus, and accordingly should respect the choices of God’s will in my life. My parents chose to teach me lessons through characters like Santa from which I have learned and have been able to apply to God’s plan for my life.
As I have grown in knowledge and wisdom, I have found that I can attribute many stories from my childhood to God’s will in my life. God wishes to give all of humankind gifts, and He does this by giving us the Sacraments, answering the prayers of His faithful, and by giving those who have received baptism the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
All in all, God loves us and wishes to give us the best life here on Earth, but His ultimate wish is for all His children to share in the joys of Heaven. I am continuing to realize that I should trust in God’s plan because He often sends me gifts without bows.
by Isabella Rollins
Isabella Rollins is originally from Illinois and moved to Camas, Washington, in 2008. She started homeschooling in third grade and is now enrolled in her first year of Seton high school. She has been involved in musical theater for six years, both as cast and crew. In addition to acting in plays, she recently competed on an improv team in San Diego, California. She has also been involved in the adult choir at her church for two years. She is a veteran horseback rider, and trains her neighbors’ horses twice a week. Amongst all of her extracurricular activities, she still find time to hang with friends and family. She thanks God for each day, and tries to show appreciation for all the people He has put in her life.