Gifts of 
the Season

He was just four when he spotted it. It was like in the comics, when the bubble over a character’s head gets filled with a brightly lit bulb. It was one of those “Aha!” moments mamas love to witness, but I was distracted, digging in my bottomless purse for the keys to the minivan.

“Mommy! Look!” he pleaded, pulling on my arm. He leaned back a little to peer out from under the fluffy hood on his coat, and pointed up. It was Isaac’s first holiday light sighting of the year, a small tree atop a tall building, shining like a beacon over the city.

“It’s a Christmas tree!” he said with awe. “That means the building under it is a giant gift!”

He had no idea how right he was. The building under the tree was our local hospital. We were in the parking lot, having just left an appointment to check his troubled ears. It was one in a series of appointments that eventually led him to several surgeries.

We couldn’t have known then how appropriate it was that he pointed out that the hospital was a huge gift box. The place was overflowing with dedicated staff, compassionate and kind doctors, nurses and technicians; the brightest and best were there, attending to our town’s sick and hurting—working on my boy. I could think of no better gift to our family and the city than that hospital gift box and its contents.

Now, many years later and after two ear surgeries this year alone, we still spend our fair share of time zipping up and down the highway to clinics and hospitals. We now have access to the best pediatric health services available in the country right here in our community. We’ve experienced a miracle in Isaac’s restored hearing and now healthy ear. We’ve shared the joy of that success with his surgeon and an attentive caregiving team that smiles with their eyes, their mouths hidden behind surgical masks. We know the relief and delight it is to take a peek into the giant gift box that good health is to our family.

This is me, pulling on your arm, pleading for you to “Look!” this holiday season. Let the wonder of the holidays change your perspective, like Isaac changed mine that cold day many Decembers ago. Look up from your to-do lists or whatever else is a distraction and take a moment to notice the many gifts around you: the sparkle on the ice and snow, in the lights of your neighbor’s Clark Griswold light display, and in the eyes of your loved ones. Picture a lit tree shining over the tops of your favorite people and places. They are giant gifts, each and every one.