As my eyes opened on that magical, crisp morning, I could feel the excitement. As the sun pierced through the window and hit my blanket and warming my legs, I knew…I just knew that today would be a great day! In fact, maybe it would be THE BEST DAY EVER! I hardly slept all night. The day had finally come! The day I had been longing for….Christmas! This wasn’t just any Christmas morning though. This was my 8th and MOST special Christmas morning. This was the day I would get my dream gift; the super-fast, 3 speed geared, wheelie-popping, shiny, red, cool-kid, Speed Racer bike!
Every kid on the block wanted one and ever since I saw the advertisement on the commercial, I KNEW I had to have it. I had made major (yet subtle) hints to my parents for weeks about it. There’s no way that they wouldn’t know and I just knew I’d be coming downstairs to receive it this very morning.
As I lay there, daydreaming and practicing my surprise face, I was interrupted by Mom’s voice. “KIDS! COME DOWN! IT’S CHRISTAS MORNING!” I jumped out of the bed and ran down the stairs, almost tackling my little sister and getting shoved by my older brother. Finally, our feet hit the bottom floor. Mike and Beth pushed past me and knelt down by the tree to grab a present with their name on it.
I scanned the room once, twice, even three times. There wasn’t any gift wrapped that would even slightly resemble my bicycle. “Come on over and get a present, Dusty.” I walked over in a confused manner and opened the first gift Mom handed me. A basketball….great….I’ve always wanted a basketball…WHO WAS I KIDDING? I hated basketball! Didn’t Mom know I preferred something a bit more extreme? Regardless, I tried to crack a smile, say thanks and move forward.
I watched Beth and Michael open present after present. Beth was giddy with excitement every time she would receive a Barbie or her doll house. Everything seemed to please that kid. Mike always responded in such a calm, cool manner as well. “Wow, new shoes. That’s rad. Thanks Mom and Dad.” They even managed to get him his most desired present; the new Tony Hawk game! COME ON NOW? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT ABOUT MY DESIRES?
Yet, I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. So every time I got a new present, I would mumble, “Thanks for the cd.” Or “Wow…cool shirt.” Inside, however, I was severely concerned and I could feel myself dwindling. I couldn’t hide how I was feeling. The deeper, into the morning, the longer my pain seemed to last. WHERE WAS IT? When were they going to come out and surprise me with it? Don’t they even care? I knew Dad could afford it. I would see him get up every morning with his suit and tie, coffee in hand and head out the door. The subject between my parents always seemed to be about him crunching numbers, the stacks of paperwork he managed daily and climbing the cardboard ladder….whatever that meant. He could do this one thing for me. It wasn’t so hard.
The longer I thought about it, the madder I became. I was starting to really grit my teeth when Mom walked past me with a genuine smirk and a plastic bag; picking up all the torn wrapping paper. I let Mike and Beth’s laughter fade into the background and I could feel a lump in my throat begin to rise. I was going to bust. Just at that moment of thought, Mom chimes in, “Dusty, why the long face? Aren’t you happy?” HAPPY?! HAPPY?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! My sadness quickly turned into intense anger and in a swift, rage-full act. I slammed my cd down on the floor and ran upstairs; feeling the glares of my family surrounding me.
I rushed to my room and slammed the door. I couldn’t believe the anger that just overtook me. Why did I respond that way? It’s because I HAD A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY! They hated me. They totally forgot all about me; especially dad. I knew he always loved Mike more. I knew he was probably just saving all of his money so they could take some trip this year without me. So many thoughts were running through my head and as the anger settled, my sadness came back and I began to weep from deep within me. I collapsed on my bed; letting all my energy and brokenness soak into my pillow from my tears.
The next thing I knew, I was hearing a small bell ringing. DING! DING! DING! I shifted in my bed and I realized that I was dreaming. Oh I’m dreaming of my bike. I can even hear the ringing. Then it seemed to become louder and louder and my sleep began to break more and more. I must have fallen asleep for a few minutes. My eyes slowly opened. DING! DING! DING! I could really hear it! Was I still dreaming? NO! This was real and it was coming from outside my window! I jumped out of my bed and over to the window and looked down. AND THERE I SAW IT! There was Dad, hands on hips, smiling, and next to him was my red, Speed-Racer bike!
I could feel my eyes light up and a smile break through my tear, dried face. Dad waved for me to come down and boy I didn’t waste a minute. I raced downstairs and out the door; even forgetting to put on shoes and a jacket. I ran up to my dad and the bike and stood there; speechless and in shock. I looked at Dad, smile to smile, then back at the bike, then back at Dad and planted a HUGE hug on him. “THANKS DAD! YOU’RE THE BEST!” I said. I knew Dad wouldn’t forget me about me. I knew “he loved me,” I thought. I knelt down and hugged the bike with everything in me.
Dad giggled, “Sorry it took so long, son. I had to put some last minute touches on it.” “It’s alright Dad! I’ll ride it now if that’s okay?” I quickly asked. “Of course it is. Just make sure you’re back when the street lights come on.” “SURE THING!” I said, as I was already riding in the distance. THIS WAS THE BEST! I rode with the wind in my hair, bugs hitting my face, and the brisk evening wind pushing past me. This was the life and, of course, I had to stop by Stephen and Tanner’s house to show off my new ride. I was the envy of every kid in Shady Meadows. Nothing could mess this day up!
As the night sky rolled in, I headed back to the house. Walking my new, beloved possession into the garage, I kissed it goodnight. I walked into the house with every intention to grab the first person I saw and brag about my awesome day but I was suddenly sidetracked when I heard some intense talking from the kitchen. I tiptoed a bit closer and realized it was Mom and Dad. I could hear Mom whimpering and I saw Dad consoling her. What was going on…? I thought. Dad interrupted, “It’s going to be okay, Viv. We’re going to be okay.” Mom replied in a concerned, sarcastic way, “Are we Tom? Are we? What about that game?” “The game was 2nd hand.” Dad said in a hushed tone, “And the bike? What about that bike?” A silence fell for a few seconds. “Mr. Pearson gave me a loan at the store. He said I could pay him back in increments…..” Dad went on. “I just couldn’t take the thought of the kids’ faces; waking up Christmas morning without the things they’ve been asking for. And Dusty…come on. You know, as well as I, that Dusty has been leaving us really evident hints all month. You should have seen the look on his face earlier when I gave him his new bike. It meant the world to him. To me, Viv,” Dad leaned in and grabbed Mom’s hands. “…that was priceless.”
I saw Mom’s anger leave her body as she sank against Dad’s chest. I could hear her mumble while her face was buried in his sweater. “But does Mr. Pearson know it could take you months to find another job? We’re broke, Tom.” “Viv, it’ll be fine. God will take care of us.” In shock, my heart now sunk into my chest. I leaned up against the wall; realizing Dad’s unconditional love for me and thinking about my most prized possession. My possession that I wanted so badly and it cost Dad everything…..
I have felt like Dusty so many times in my walk with the Father. Dreaming is a good thing and it’s something He wants us to do. However, when our dreams don’t come when we want or how we want, we can tend to be hurt, get angry, lose hope, compare ourselves to others, or even blame the Father. We might even want to take matters into our own hands (I’m sure none of us has ever done that.) ;)
We can even find ourselves responding like Dusty did. One minute saying, “God doesn’t love me. He loves so and so more than me.” Then when God comes through, the next thing we proclaim is, “I knew God loved me! He always comes through!” Sometimes our hope gets deferred and that can make the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12). This is a real thing but it’s important for us to know that God is good and just. He loves us very much and wants good things for us. The Father truly knows best though. Our love and perspective of Him shouldn’t be dependent on the fact of getting what we want, how and when we want it or not.
He has already given us the greatest gift of all time and it cost Him everything. It cost Him His son, Jesus. The story of Dusty at Christmas is obviously a fictional story (and not perfect). So I do want to say that it’s not for us to feel guilty to desire and receive gifts from the Father. He’s glad to do it but I wrote this story as a reminder to myself that the Father is always working things behind the scenes that we can’t see and that His timing is perfect. If He said He would do it, He will (in His timing, and in His way.) We can also take comfort in knowing that He does know our desires already. He loves all His children equally. He is fair. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is kind. He is consistent and He is love. He truly is a good, good Father.
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”
Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”
1 John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!”