Spending Christmas evening with my parents brought to mind a simpler time when Christmas was a big deal for children, but not quite the production it often is today. Laptops and iPods were still in the distant future, and the most advanced technology under the tree was in the form of a record player or transistor radio. Generally, the largest gifts we boys anticipated were bicycles or BB guns, though we knew there would usually be some clothes to wear and a bag of citrus fruit and nuts to eat. One year I racked up with a football, a Daisy pump-action BB gun, and a bunch of plastic soldiers.

With the current economic downturn, this Christmas has been a simpler occasion for many families, at least as far as gifts under the tree are concerned. Some children may find it all hard to understand.

At least two things, however, have not changed. One is the magnitude of God’s gift in Christ, something none of us can begin to comprehend. Another is the way Christ’s birth has been transformed into a commercialized, debt-inducing frenzy – something even God must struggle to understand.

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