He did it to me again. My now 17-year-old nephew has created a Christmas memory that brought me to tears. Three years ago, several months after we lost my mother, and his Nana, I wrote this post about his wonderful Christmas gesture that reduced me to a puddle once I was safely in the confines of my home. This year, he managed to pull at my heart-strings once again, forcing me to swallow my raw emotion until I got home.
Our Christmas Eve tradition has not changed. We all gather at the end of my brother’s driveway to watch Santa Claus cruise through the streets atop the fire truck, we go to the Christmas service at the church and then we all go home to finish up the last-minute wrapping for the big day. This year was different. My nephew insisted that we all go back to my brother’s house after church because he wanted to give us his Christmas gifts when we were all together. Carefully he placed his gifts in the laps of his family and grinned from ear to ear as we tore off the paper to see what lay underneath.
Each of us received a gift that he had given great thought to and created with his own hands. Attached to a piece of very sentimental barn-board was a piece of metal that he had carved for each of us with our last name and either our year of birth or our year of marriage. This is my beautiful sign.
The Christmas spirit is alive and well and now resides in the heart of my nephew. He truly felt the joy of giving. His face was animated as he watched each of us run our fingers along the names he had carved into our signs. He was more excited for us to receive our gifts than he was to think about what lay under the tree for him on Christmas morning. He gets it. He now knows that the true gift at Christmas is the one you give and not the one you receive.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell him how much his gift meant until I had been home and had time to process my emotion. After I shed a few tears, I texted him and told him how much his gift touched my heart. He is coming over later today to help me put up the sign that I will look at with great pride and emotion for a very long time.