Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Best Christmas Present Ever

So my wife gave me the best Christmas present ever. It was creative, thoughtful... and thoroughly me.

Some background: Both of us enjoy Christmas, but neither of us loose sleep over it. I mean, we are not scrooges or anything, but we are not fanatical. Actually, I think we have a pretty healthy perspective on the whole gift-giving thing. We buy each other a few gifts -- and often times one of those is nicer. Again, we enjoy Christmas but it's not like we run to open presents.

I knew something was up when, a couple of days before Christmas, Laura got absolutely giddy about Christmas.

My wife does not get giddy.

On Wednesday she said, "Your Christmas present came -- but not to the house." She talked about it with my mom. Mom got giddy. Lydia was giddy. The dogs were giddy. There was a lot of hush-hush-giddiness around the Risler household.

Christmas Eve we open our presents. I open a picture frame. A pair of snow pants. And then a small remote controlled helicopter. I was pretty happy about the helicopter... and assumed that was the cause of the giddiness. But there was one more small box.

I started to open it (Laura got giddy again).

I opened it and found...



Yes, you are correct. It's a turtle Christmas Tree ornament. (At this point she is about to explode of giddiness). I looked at her with this "what-in-the-world-is-wrong-with-you!" look, honestly busting my brain trying to figure out why in the world she is so excited about a turtle Christmas tree ornament.

To be clear, I don't collect turtles. I don't dislike them, but I don't have a particular affinity toward them. And, if you are trying to use this turtle to figure out what the gift is... you won't. It has NOTHING to do with the gift.

Press Pause.

Did you ever play that game where you answer the question: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? For the past 15 years or so my answer has always been the same.

My job is more than a job to me. It's a passion. I particularly like the art of preaching. I mean, yes, it's a major part of my job. But I'm about as passionate about the actual task of preaching as I am about pretty much anything. I don't just do it. I read about it. Listen to a TON of people who do it. I think about it recreationally. If anyone was willing, I would stay up late at night and talk about preaching.

Yes. I need a life.

Back to the gift.

The gift was not the turtle. The gift was the little scrap of paper inside the turtle. On the scrap of paper was an email address.

The email address of Nancy Ortberg, John Ortberg's wife.

John Ortberg is, hands down, my favorite author and pastor.

My wife has been corresponding with Nancy Ortberg.

For Christmas, my wife is flying me out to California to meet and have lunch with John Ortberg.

My wife rocks.