The Last Gift of Christmas


Our 16-year-old son, Chandler, is the one responsible for the last gift of Christmas, 2015. By that I mean the last gift purchased. It was late afternoon, Christmas Eve, and Chandler, Marti and I had just enjoyed a traditional live rendition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and were readying ourselves to go to the home of our other son, Christopher, and celebrate Christmas with him and his wife, Elizabeth, and their new daughter — our first grandchild — Jocelyn. There was a shopping mall across the street from the theater, and we decided to do a little last-minute shopping there. Chandler had something in mind he wanted to get his mother for Christmas, so we split up for an hour or so, and I took Chandler with me.

Chandler always has something in mind that he wants to do. I do not know of anyone who is more of a planner than my son, Chandler. He has plans for our regular visits to see him at his treatment center/school in Wyoming, He has plans for his home visits, of which he has had two so far — an indication, by the way, of how well he is doing in his classes and rehabilitation program. He has plans for who he’s is going to marry. He has plans for this summer, plans for next year, and plans for the rest of his life.

And you must understand, when I say he has plans, I mean HE HAS PLANS. These are not casual wishes, they are serious plans that he is bent on making happen, and only an act of God will thwart them. So when we got back together after our brief shopping spree, to ready ourselves to go to Christopher’s house, Chandler announced that he had one last gift to get for me and it would necessitate a trip to Walmart with his mother.

Now, the only way you would ever get Marti into a Walmart store on Christmas Eve would be if it was part of Chandler’s plan. Marti does not do Walmart. She freaks out in large discount stores. The long aisles, the stacks of merchandise, the multitude of choices and the large crowds of people put her in an uncontrollable frenzied state of mind. No sooner does she get in one of these stores than she announces it’s time to get out. I think she feels that she has to have one of everything in the store, or nothing. Anything other than that is too overwhelming. Chandler assured her that he knew exactly what he wanted and where to find it, and that they would be in and out in a flash. I worried for my wife, but Chandler had his mind made up, and unless it’s illegal or completely out of the question, when he does this, it’s history.

So we separated, and they found the nearest Walmart while I picked up some groceries, and we met back up at Christopher’s house, and the gift never came up until I opened it Christmas morning back at our house where the three of us shared our Christmas with each other.

So you can imagine my surprise, when, after all this, before a beaming Chandler, I unwrapped two plastic bottles of Suave Essentials, Tropical Coconut, Creamy Body Wash — something that was probably on the shelf of fifteen stores they passed on the way to Walmart. Never mind; it was Chandler’s plan, and I’ve got tell you, that every time I take a shower and wash myself with my Suave Essentials, Tropical Coconut, Creamy Body Wash, I do so with great pride. Chandler planned this; he took his mother through the trenches to get this; this is a body wash of great value.

To a large extent, value is what we place on something. Our value as human beings is not intrinsic to us; it is bound up in the love of God. Our worth is in the love God has for us, and what He went through to purchase us and present us to Himself spotless, clean and beautiful. We have been in His mind all along. We are a big part of His plan; and nothing will stand in the way of accomplishing it.

Why are all brides so flushed and beautiful at their weddings? Because they look into the eyes of their new husbands and find their worth in the love he has for them, and them alone. There’s nothing in the world like it. And because we know that everyone’s value comes from the worth God’s love places on them, we can look at everyone this way. We know the secret of why they are so important.

Though I received a number of nice gifts this year, I can tell you, without a doubt, that my favorite and most valuable gift was the last gift of Christmas.


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6 Responses to The Last Gift of Christmas

  1. Martha Nelson says:

    I was so excited as I read this! Not only because Chandler is doing so well, but because of the description of his “planning” personality and his dogged determination to accomplish what he plans. I love that you appreciate and encourage that in him! That is a God-trait ingrained in Chandler’s DNA. I appreciate this trait because I am a planner as well. The best part of knowing your personality traits uis also knowing that it is God given and when we surrender those traits to the Lord’s leading, those traits radiate pleasure to us and more importantly, pleasure to God! John, you and Marti have a gift in this young man. I know each one of your children and grandchildren are a gift planned by God. I just see evidence of God’s particular gifts in Chandler! I will continue to pray for him as he continues his journey of growth and discovery! Lord bless and keep you, all! Martha Nelson 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️✝🌈🎉

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Kat Hanes says:

    Chandler is a pretty funny guy! BTW, thank you so much for including AUDIO FILE 🙂 There are times when my OLD eyeballs see how much you have written and cannot take it…but my EARS love hearing your words 😉

  3. Alma Siemens says:

    I love the picture that Chandler is of the Lord’s planning and determination in giving us Himself. How can we do anything but value Him supremely?

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