We all remember that one Christmas where we got the best gift ever! Maybe you were like Ralphie and wanted a “Red Ryder Carbon Action 200-shot Range air rifle,” and actually got it. Or maybe you wanted a baby doll that was life-like in every way and got her wrapped pretty in a box on Christmas morning. Whatever it was, I’m sure it’s engraved in your mind as the best Christmas ever! Mine has to do with the very title of this blog. Let me give a little back story for you.
Back in 1991, when I was 5 years-old my family went to Disney Land. Mind you that’s the year 101 Dalmatians was rereleased into theaters. I’ll never forget we had just gotten into the park and we were making our way to some specific place in the park, that part I don’t remember the details on, I just remember we weren’t stopping anywhere else on the way. That’s when I saw it, this huge 101 Dalmatians display in one of the shop windows. My heart fell head-over-heels in love with those spotted creatures. If I would’ve been a cartoon my eyes would’ve had spotted hearts popping out of them (see what I did there? ;). I was completely in love and I was not going any further until I had my hands on one of those spotted plush creatures. I bugged my parents until finally my mom’s cousin Janet, whom was with us, took me to get a stuffed 101 Dalmatian pup. I took that puppy with me everywhere!
From that point on I only saw black & white spots. Everything I had was black and white. This wasn’t just a short fad, for years I was obsessed with the 101 Dalmatians. You guys, I’m talking yearrrrsss. So as you can imagine, my one hearts desire was a real-life Dalmatian pup. I’d been asking my parents for one ever since we’d gotten back from Disney Land. That was the only thing I talked about, and asked Santa for that following Christmas.
Christmas Eve had come and we were having Christmas at my Grandma’s house with my aunts and uncles. There was a knock on the door-It was Santa! He had a box wrapped and it was for me! I was so exited and I remember being a bit confused on why I was the only one getting a gift. I remember him telling me he heard I’d been a very good girl and the package was heavy, to be careful with it. We got it carefully set down on the floor and I started unwrapped it. The sweetest puppy I had ever seen popped it’s head out of the box and I was completely smitten! I couldn’t get that box open fast enough, my heart was so full! I was so excited, I immediately named him Freckles!
This is a picture of pure joy. That moment is forever engraved in my mind and my heart and when I think of my favorite Christmas my heart goes to that night and it’s been spotted ever since.
Last Christmas, my 3rd Christmas with One Cute Cowboy, he had another one of those memorable, special gifts. I’m a collector of vintage books, and for years I’d searched for a 1st Edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Christmas morning Riley eagerly handed me a gift. I opened it and looking up at me was a 1st edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians. My eyes teared up. I knew he understood my heart. It was such a thoughtful gift. I’m so lucky to have this thoughtful, caring man in my life. One that truly understands and hears my heart.
Now I know Christmas isn’t about getting gifts-Christmas is about the gift. When God sent the ultimate gift, Jesus Christ, into the world that cold night in a tiny stable. My heart is overwhelmed when the imagery of that night comes to mind. I’m filled with hope and gratitude. For I truly hope every one of you takes time to remember “the reason for the season.” For there is so much more to Christmas than pretty packages and fun Christmas carols. A king, the King was born that night to be the Prince of Peace, and to bring hope into the world, and to bring redemption to you and I. O holy night, indeed! Praise be to God!