The answers came quickly. In the Early Learning Centre, they always do. This particular question, ‘What is better than a bright, shiny, red, vroom-vroom (car),’ was asked near the beginning of an improvisational story about a boy who only wanted a red car for his birthday.
One girl raised her hand and said, ‘A unicorn is much better than a red vroom-vroom.’ A few other four-year-olds agreed heartily with her assessment. A boy raised his hand. He has the same answer for everything whether the question is, ‘What do we thank God for?’ or ‘What kind of car do your parents have?’
‘A monster truck. Definitely.’ A few other boys began to describe in their limited vocabulary the dimensions and horsepower (how many vrooms a monster truck has) of their ideal monster truck.
Another girl tapped her wrist. ‘I’d like an Apple Watch and an iPhone.’ I sighed. Four-years-old and already desiring the very thing that makes them grow up too fast.
I thought I’d be cute. ‘So, is an Apple watch an apple on top of your wrist and then you eat it when you’re hungry?’
The little girl frowned and looked at me as if I was a Martian. For full disclosure, this happens every time I go to the ELC. ‘No, silly, you put it on your wrist, and it tells you what to do.’
‘Aaah,’ I responded knowing that a truer sentence had never been spoken.
Maybe some of you reading this have a bright, shiny, red, vroom-vroom or want one. Or, included in your family’s possessions is a unicorn, a monster truck, an Apple Watch/iPhone or a mitt-ful of Pokémon cards. I’ll admit, it might be nice to have all these things, but one little person answered for me, What is better than a bright, shiny, red, vroom-vroom?’
‘My family. And my friends.’
People. Relationships. She gets it.
It’s not as if the other children didn’t figure it out. It’s exciting to have things, but even with unicorns, the shine eventually wears off until you want a bigger and better unicorn. But not so with family and friends. The ones God has blessed us with are perfectly imperfect and wonderfully made. They make life truly worth living, and to share Christmas with them, even if we don’t buy them bright, shiny, red, vroom-vrooms, is of infinite value.
As we celebrate Christmas this year without the restrictions we’ve had in the last years, I hope you have the chance to recognise the utmost beauty you have with God’s gift of your family and friends. I pray that you will take a deep breath and find the peace that passes all understanding as the gift of Jesus, the gift that keeps on giving, arrives full of promise and hope.