I just mailed a somewhat heavy box to China with an undoubtedly heavy heart. I mailed the first Christmas gifts that Song-Felicity will ever receive from us and I was completely unprepared to feel the way I did when I walked out of the very crowded pre-holiday post office. Once the door to my van was closed and I was seated inside, quiet tears fell into my lap.
Toddlers are not supposed to receive Christmas gifts from their parents through post offices and governmental Customs agencies. They are supposed to receive them via a sleigh propelled by tiny reindeer while seated, still sleepy-eyed, on the laps of their mothers. And though I understand that Song-Felicity does not comprehend enough about us or about Christmas to be troubled by this distance or by these delivery methods, I do understand. And it breaks my heart so much more than I was prepared for it to.
So much of my heart went into that box. Williams children get three Christmas gifts just like Baby Jesus did and settling on the three gifts that were going to cross the sea to represent our heart for our child in China was more complicated than I thought it could possibly be. Through the years, we have parented six two-year-olds at Christmas time and, though none of them comprehended Christmas and its precious Gift, they each comprehended that Christmas is special…and that they are special…so very special to us.
This awareness is what I really longed to box up and send to our China baby girl for Christmas. And realizing that my longing could not truly be satisfied was unsettling…is unsettling…on a very deep level of my maternity.
The somber peace I ultimately find in our gifts is in the knowledge that, though Song-Felicity does not comprehend what we long to give to her for Christmas now, one day she will. So gifts were pondered and chosen that would hopefully represent our Christmas wishes for her. The gifts and their wishes were sent across the sea today.
Our infant Lord received gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh at His birth as symbols that pointed towards His identity. Gold because He is the King of all kings, frankincense because He is the Priest of all priests and myrrh to honor His ultimate sacrifice.
Our daughter is receiving symbolic gifts, too. Not so much symbolic of who she is but more so of our wishes and prayers for her:
A cloth doll…to symbolize our wishes for her to delight in this fleeting season that embodies the joys of childhood and make-believe…
A fuzzy blanket… to symbolize our longing for her to feel safe and secure and warm…
And a pale pink tutu…because pale pink is her Mama’s favorite color and because nothing makes a girl feel prettier than twirling in a tutu! Oh how I wish I could see her in it! I am confident that our lack of common language would in no way hinder her from instinctively twirling once her tiny body is inside of it!
Childhood joy, warm security and an awareness of her beauty as a daughter of the Infant King Whose birth we now recall…these are the Christmas wishes we sent across the sea today….with the prayer that we may never again spend a Christmas separated from each other by so much sea and by so much distance.