Christmas entered with a sleepy-eyed, parental state of disbelief in how early our kids still get up for the day. I blearily threw on some house pants and a ball cap and followed my bright-eyed spouse into the living room. Though our kids are 13 and 11, they still treat Christmas with as much eagerness as they always have.

Whether it was unwrapping or confetti-throwing, I’m still not sure, but the loving chaos, discovery and gratitude that followed over the next hour were more than enough to substitute for my normal caffeine fix. There was Sam downplaying his gift of a Sugar Bowl ticket. (13 year-olds have to have some semblance of dignity.) Adelyn loved her Flip Video camera and promptly began starring in her own movies. I wonder where she got that from?

I was successful in fooling Carolyn, and it was fun watching her unwrap her iPhone 4. I was extra thankful the AT&T folks let us upgrade a few weeks early. I had a hard time explaining to her yesterday (on her birthday) why her old phone suddenly lost reception. (It was when I’d called the AT&T folks and told them to go ahead and activate the new iPhone.)

My big present this year was the travel to the Sugar Bowl, in combination with the ticket that Northstar Church gave me and Cody to go. Since Cody’s team is the Ohio State Luckeyes, it’s been fun milking that matchup around town. I also received a wireless keyboard to go with iPad and some other goodies.

The best gift this year, however, has been my family. I was able to drink in the moments this morning with joy. Carolyn’s surgery is past, and it’s just recovery time ahead. We’ve had wonderful visits from my mom and dad over Thanksgiving and Carolyn’s mom this past week to be present during surgery and to help out.

Our church family has been gracious and kind to us by providing all kinds of meals and goodies. We’re truly overwhelmed and humbled by their joyful service to us. One family went above and beyond – the Minnicks – by cooking us Christmas Eve meal AND a full-blown Christmas day dinner that was just amazing. We were so grateful. Another family made Carolyn a birthday cake since she’s a Christmas Eve baby.

We’re thankful. It’s so humbling to be on the receiving end of so much ministry, love and care. Yet, all the ministry we’ve received keeps us consistently praying and praising. For every good gift we receive has its origin in the Original Giver.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1.17)

On this day...

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Jeff Noble

Jeff is the pastor of Northstar Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. He grew up in Arkansas, loves fantasy football and is an Apple fan boy. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @journeyguy.
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