Kat Mills reflects on the unexpected gift of a big teddy bear to help her son sleep through the night and the unexpected gift of Jesus as our Saviour.

The Unexpected Gift

I don't know if you have ever had a similar moment, but this year at Christmas I was distributing the presents from under the Christmas tree, when my eyes fell upon one humongous present almost as big as me. It was lurking at the back of the tree and there wasn't a label on it.

I was thinking "Please don't be for any of my family!" I have been trying to declutter, so the thought of something that big was disheartening.

The moment of realisation and dread set in when my sister-in-law said "Oh, Kat, that big present at the back is for Dom".

I looked at it and thought, "You gotta be kidding me! What on earth could it be?" So, I pulled it from under the tree towards my son, whose eyes grew huge with the excitement of a present twice his size. As I helped him open it we uncovered a massive teddy bear!

There were two very different responses to the same present. The child is in a blissful delight, jumping around with such joy and excitement, and the parent resigned to more clutter and thinking about where it is going to live.

My response turned out to be well off mark and what I thought was going to be a huge inconvenience has turned out to be one of the most precious and life-giving gifts to our family.

Dom's sensory processing issues mean that he is continually jumping on things amid rough play and needing the physical comfort. The teddy bear has been aptly named 'Jupiter' and he is just what Dom needs to snuggle into, roll on and bundle.

Even more than this, there has been a precious and unexpected miracle. For the last year or so, Dom has been waking up every night feeling scared and needing one of his parents. We had tried pretty much done everything to try and combat this: leaving the lights on, playing music, sleeping on the floor next to him and the list goes on. It ended up that to maximise our sleep we let Dom come into our room and then I would eventually be kicked out of bed and trudge off to the spare room for the rest of the night.

Enter 'Jupiter' the teddy bear, the unexpected gift, and Dom is sleeping through the night and sleep deprivation is no longer a daily struggle.

Dom now snuggles into the lap of the bear under his covers, with giant paws around him. He is so content and peaceful.

When I asked why he now stayed in his room he said, "Jupiter makes me feel safe."

It does mean that wherever we are going to stay a night we have one less seat in the car free, but some sacrifices are well worth it!

The unexpectedness of this gift got me thinking about my response. I looked at the giant teddy and could only see the negatives and not see how amazing and life-changing this could be.

I wonder what people thought of when they heard about Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, being born as a little baby?

We have just finished the Christmas season and the familiar story of the nativity has been fixed in our minds once more. It must have been so confusing that first Christmas, looking at a baby and thinking that this is the Son of God.

All Mary and Joseph saw was a baby with all its limitations and reliance on other people. It was so different from what was expected. The Jews were expecting a strong Saviour to rescue them from the Romans, not a helpless baby.

This precious baby grew up to walk on water, heal the sick, and show people the love of God the Father. He also did the most unexpected thing of all: he died on a cross and rose again from death to take away our sin and to heal the rift between us and God.

This unexpected gift of grace and forgiveness in Jesus has transformed my life in so many ways, it has helped me take the steps towards walking in freedom and true joy and gives me strength in all I do. This 'unexpected gift' is available for all who simply choose to accept it. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.