Once there was a little girl who could hardly wait for Christmas. It was honestly all she could think about. Now there was nothing wrong with this, of course, because all of us should be thinking about the Lord’s appearance as one of us. All of us should remember the Lord’s Incarnation, the Lord becoming a member of His covenant people. All of us should be excited about the prospect, yet again, of living in the midst of a people who are celebrating something they don’t quite understand, but who are celebrating it in a way that makes it easy for us to talk to them about it.
At any rate, this little girl was excited about Christmas for all the wrong reasons. She was sick of school, and wanted vacation to start so she could lie around the house all day and fuss about helping her mother. She wanted to eat a lot of fudge. She wanted to open her glorious presents in her mind a thousand times before Christmas day. Her obligation to give presents to others was a necessary nuisance to the whole business, and so she scarcely thought at all about what she would give the others in her family. There were always the old stand-bys—a necktie for dad, cheap perfume for mom. In short, she was very selfish little girl, and though she was celebrating Christmas, she was holding it upside down and backwards.
And then one night, right near the beginning of Advent, she had a terrible dream. Actually, it was a wonderful dream, but she certainly thought it was a terrible dream. In her dream she saw her parents sitting in front of a desk, like they were getting counseling or something, but behind the desk was an angel. And he wasn’t a happy-looking angel either, but had rather a severe look on his face. He was pushing a collection of papers across the desk, and he said, "I am afraid that you have been spoiling your child. Some in the heavenly office here have gone so far as to say you have been spoiling your child rotten. These papers show exactly what your daughter’s attitude toward everyone else at Christmas is. Pretty grim reading, I can tell you that. Now here are your instructions—we want you to treat her in just the same way. It is all in there. Exactly the same way . . . Got that?"
Her parents had an awful look on their faces, a look the daughter knew very well. They did not want to do this at all. She recognized the look—that’s how she could play them so well. But this time it was different; an angel who looked like a drill sergeant was telling them to get her a cheap tie for Christmas.
So of course she woke up in a panic. She was very quiet at breakfast, and her mother even asked her if something was wrong. But nothing was wrong; she was just thinking hard about it. And as she thought, and as she thought some more, she gradually came to realize that a real angel would never tell her parents to do anything like that. That’s only how she would talk if she were an angel, and for the first time in her life she realized how awful it was.
by Douglas Wilson (from Blog and Mablog)