This Christmas, as is our tradition every year, we will give our daughter three gifts. This is because the Baby Jesus received three gifts on the day He was born, one from each of the three kings. My wife was born in Cuba, so we combine the Spanish tradition of Three Kings Day with our Christmas celebration. In Cuba toys were strictly rationed, so the children each received one "big" gift and two small ones. We do the same with Sarah, partly because of tradition, but mostly because we don’t want our daughter to be a "material girl." We see so many children who receive so many expensive gifts that they don’t appreciate any of them.
But today I don’t want to talk about the kind of gifts that we wrap and put under a Christmas tree. I want to share with you the best gifts we can give to our children. These are gifts you won’t find under any tree. These gifts don’t come from us. Rather they come from our Heavenly Father in answer to our prayers for our children.
Every night since Sarah was born, we have put her to bed with prayer. We have prayed certain things over her long before she could understand any of them. We continue to pray these blessings over her today, even though, at five and a half, she still doesn’t fully understand all of what we pray in her behalf. We pray these things because, even though we love her with all our hearts, the One to Whom we pray loves our daughter far more than we ever could.
We pray that she will come to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior at a young age, so that she will not have to go through the trials that children who don’t know the Lord in a personal way will experience. We pray that we will be good examples to her, and that we will raise and discipline her in a way that is consistent with His teachings. We pray for health and protection for our little girl.
We also pray every night for someone who none of us know yet. We pray for Sarah’s future husband. We ask the Lord to give him a loving family who will teach him the same things that we are teaching Sarah, a family who cares about eternal things and will point him to the Lord. We pray for his health and protection, too.
We pray that both Sarah and the boy who will one day become her husband will remain virgins until they marry each other. Some day when Sarah reads this, she may be embarrassed that I have written about such things in a publication read all over the world. But I like to think that she will be glad I have shared a concept her mother and I feel is vitally important. By the time she reads this, she will understand how important it is that two people be able to trust each other completely in marriage. She will understand such trust is greatly enhanced when each one knows that the other had the self-control to wait until their wedding night.
You see, my wife and I believe in the power of prayer. We believe that God cares about every aspect of our lives, and He has the power to answer our prayers. We believe that the reason many children don’t receive the gifts I am talking about is simply because their parents don’t ask the Lord for them. Some people reading this have so much money that they can afford to buy their children anything they ask for materially. But the poorest among us in terms of the world’s wealth can afford to give our children the best gifts.