Thursday, December 08, 2005

The wrapped Christmas present brings so much enthusiasm. Each year, as they're placed beneath the tree, they evoke so much anticipation and excitement. Even at my age, when I see them, I cannot help but wonder what is inside!

I stop short of actually wanting to know until the time is right. I have friends who go to great lengths to find out in advance what is in each box. They cannot handle not knowing. I guess we each respond differently to presents.

Beej was a major snoop. He counted gifts, searched for gift tags, shook boxes, and got this impish crooked grin on his face, with clasped hands drawn up under his chin when confronted about it. It was all part of the season to him.

We decided early to make it difficult for him. Some years we put no names on...but then we would forget whose was whose. Other years we used initials written into the pattern of the wrap, so it was near undetectable. Still others, we would write one name on it, knowing that that name meant another name...yes we had to write down our code somewhere...which we would usually misplace.

It was not easy to fool him. By the time we were ready to open presents, he usually had it figured out. However, it only added to the anticipation of the inevitable. In later years, his giving became much more important to him. He even folded into the same posture as one of his gifts was opened. Such anticipation. Such joy. The payoff for him became about the expression of joy on the others face at the newly discovered treasure.

"I guess we each respond differently to the Presence." I know this year, he will celebrate without hesitation. Anticipation gone, but uniquely replaced by a joy and awe that we cannot fathom. A knowledge we hunger for, a view that quickens our pulse.
A Savior born so long ago in humble beginnings. A few chosen ones gathered at the compelling of the angels. Heralded into infamy by a perfect life, and equally humble death. Ours for eternity, the perfect, unblemished gift, unwrapped at the resurrection.

How will we respond? Is He YOUR Savior? Is He the reason YOU celebrate? Or is He just another story, which allows you to get gifts, and makes you feel good for a day or two.

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Make Him yours today. Ask Him to come into your heart, and be Lord of your life.

Have a blessed season in Jesus,


To the anonymous blogger who asked about "getting past anger", please e-mail me at


At 8:27 AM, Blogger Cousin Beth said...

Thank you for reminding us that Christmas is about His Presence. The other day when you wrote so beautifully about your 3 ladies, I was reminded of my last words to you as you got on the plane. They truly are 3 beautiful and wonderful and unique people. They are also lucky to have you in their lives.
We continue to hear the rippling effects of how God is moving from last weekend. We heard more reports at church last night from various people.
You will also be interested to know that the uncle Phil F. requested prayer for on Sun. a.m. got saved Sun. night. His wife did, also. We're praising the Lord with them.
Have a blessed day.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us what Christmas is all about - it helps to focus our attention to the real reason of Christmas

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Reading your post this morning, I was reminded of an email I got the other day. It was about taking back Christmas from the stores who no longer will refer to this time of year as Christmas. They are only allowed to say "Happy Holidays." The big green thing we put up in our house is called a holiday tree, not a Christmas tree. The problem with this is that with out CHRIST, there would be no holiday season, therefore, it is and will always be Christmas to all the christians out there.

I refuse to let stores keep me from remembering just why we celebrate this season. My 5 year old will tell you that we are having a big birthday party for baby Jesus, he's got the right idea. Don't get me wrong, he still gets excited about the presents, but he says that since Jesus is in heaven, he shares his gifts with us. Oh, the innocence of a child.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Social Justice League said...

i love the way god is still using this site! keep it up i love reading these!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Brent, Deanna, Lauren, Whitney, and BJ--You and this site are among our special gifts this year! We love you deeply and dearly!

Our family would echo Brent's plea--make Him the reason you celebrate. That relationship doesn't offer a quick fix for anger, fear, pain, or problems--but having His presence, power, and person to go with you THROUGH the hard times is incredible. BJ didn't demonstrate a perfect life (shaking Christmas packages! I'm so shocked!) --just a surrendered one.

love to all as we work on preparing our homes and hearts for the celebration of His birth!

Pieper Family
Charleston, SC

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Danzeisen5 said...

Thanks so much for this today, Brent! We all have been thinking so much of your family this week, esp. today. The children wanted to watch the memorial service again today (mainly the part with BJ's pictures!) we watched that part three or four times. They esp. love the baptism part! It really made me think how much he is missed and how much the "Presence" of the Father and His love is so important to all of us. I pray for that presence in your home and hearts in a new way today -

I love you

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My gift to my adult children who are the parents of our beloved granddaughter Nikki who also went to be with our Lord this year at the age of 15 are letters I have composed of memories I have of them that are dear to me..Ending with the thought that memories are the best earthly gift we possess and that Gods Best Gift to us was his very own Son Jesus..HE IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON... CHRIS AND MARLAS FRIEND

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes, it is so hard to find things to say to your intringing words you have said. I read daily and go to post some little encouragement. I search my heart for what BJ himself would say.

As, I finish schoolwork, as a senior, prepare for my hopeful trip to Peru next summer, I can't help, but think about the things in life that really count.

I am sometimes like the person yesturday, who is sometimes still angry. I am not angry at God I am angry at how my friends can be so stupid and hypocritical.

I am like BJ though. Around the first of December my parents and aunt's and uncle's begin to by CHRISTmas gifts. I too, shake, search and try to find out if I got what I really wanted.

I think the best christmas gift, is that Beej is with is Father. I am envious.

Brent and Deanna,
You raised the most incredible man of God. Daily walking close to thee, he inspired so many students and adults alike to stand for WHO they believe in. There was a fire shining so bright in him.

For this Christmas,
I ask you to pray for me. I ask that you pray I can go to Peru, walk where Beej walked last in his journey. That I may get to go and God will provide the funds.

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been drawn to this site for many months. BJ really opened my eyes to 'getting it' and turning my life over to God. I have turned that corner, but as been said to me before, The devil is also at work - doing everything in his power to deter me. I feel like the devil sits on my shoulder daily now, as I have had a terrible past 2 months - so much so that I am in the process of literally losing almost all of my 'worldly' possessions, ie - home and car. Life is a daily struggle for me right now, wondering if I'll be able to feed my own children next week or not, and if I can afford to even keep them in daycare so that I can work. (I'm a single mother of 2) I was just made aware that one of my jobs may also be over this week - yet another blow to an already TERRIBLE situation for me right now.

Please pray for me and my family.
I feel like prayer and hope is all I have right now!

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! It is sad that nowadays you cannot even say "Merry Chirstmas" without the fear that you might offend someone. Your post is just amazing and so wonderfully written. You and the family are in my prayers. I miss you all and am hopeful that when Clyde gets better we will be able to come out there and see you!
Love in Christ,

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

I have thought of you much, lately. Julie and I have been going to a gym for the past month and she often wears her T-shirt to workout. It is a very vivid reminder to pray for you and for BJ's dream. To pray for the latin people and for those beyond my borders.

I know this might make you blush brighter than those shirts, but I need to tell you something. We have read excerts from BJ's journals and it would be hard not to be impressed. I have to tell you though, that great men and women of God usually do not spring from thin air. Normally they spring from well tended soil. My time of meeting you and your daughters was short, but BJ-s passion for Christ and His Kingdom was not a fluke.

Stick Close,

Frank Lamca
Quito, Ecuador

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

Indeed, it is discouraging and disheartening to see how "Christ" is being removed from Christmas, literally and figuratively.

I went to Starbucks, the other day, and found myself standing in line just looking at the people around me. For a moment, time seemed to stop -- many of them don't know that they're treading on a rotten covering that hovers above a place of eternal torment. At any moment, that covering may give way so they find themselves in judgement, and then eternity. And yet they're so oblivious. I get up to the counter, and say "Merry Christmas" when I finish ordering my drink. Phew -- I recieved a smile, this person isn't one who will be offended by my holiday greeting. But do they know what it means? Do they know how much weight is contained in those two common words -- Merry Christmas!

The life-saving truth is in the story of Christmas.

Fairfax, VA, USA

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Nic and Jen said...

Thank you so much for these words. Christmas is truly about Christ, our Saviors birth! Although we do have the excitement over the gifts, we need to remember Christ who died in our place, and that is the reason we have Christmas. Every Christmas we start with prayer. Having a 10 year old and 4 year old... well I am not sure the 4 year old "gets it" as much. She is more interested in getting into the presents under the tree. I am sure BJ knew the TRUE meaning of Chrismtas and right now he is truly celebrating with Christ.
"I can only imagine" by Mercy Me pops into my head alot. I saw them in concert the other night, and when Bart sang that song, I thought of BJ. May you be blessed and comforted the Chrismtas season. May everyone remember Christ and give ALL our thanks to him. May He be glorified beyone all measure.
Jennifer WA


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