A Letter to Boy, Age Seven

Photo by Cheryl Holt / pixabay.com

 

Merry Christmas!

I picked your card off the Christmas tree in my church because I have three boys of my own—two older than you and one younger—and I thought they might be able to help me pick out a present for you. (I also have two daughters, too, one who is just a year older than you, so I might get their present-input as well.)

I find it hard to buy presents for people I’ve never met—and of course, I’ve never met you. I can imagine you, but then I feel like I’m buying something for a made-up person in my head, and that made-up person isn’t you.

I wish I could meet you.

I know a little bit about seven-year-old boys, in general—I’ve had two of my own so far—but the thing about seven-year-old boys is, they’re all different. No one else is exactly like you, so even my best guesses about what you maybe would like for Christmas might not even come close.

That makes me sad. I’m guessing there’s something you really want for Christmas this year, and I wish I knew what it was. But because I don’t know you, I have to just guess. I’m sorry if the present I end up buying you is really dumb, or not cool, or not what you wanted at all.

I’m guessing there’s something you really want for Christmas this year, and I wish I knew what it was.

I wonder if you are into sports. I wonder, if so, which ones? Would a football be a good present? But what if you hate football? Do you like to draw? I could buy you paper and colored pencils…but if you don’t like to draw, that’s a really lame present. Do you like puzzles? Do you play with Legos? How about toy cars? Video games? Pokémon cards?

I wonder if you have different needs, like my middle son. He likes “sensory toys” that he can squeeze and stretch and chew, because they help him concentrate, and (sometimes) help him sit still. He really has a hard time sitting still—in his classroom at school, he sits in a rocking chair! But the school has gotten so much better for him since we’ve learned more about his needs. How about you? What are your needs? Are you happy at school? Do you need school supplies? Or would that be totally lame, too?

I wonder if you know that when God made you, he was absolutely delighted with his creation. I wish I could tell you that. I think it’s a really important thing to know.

I wonder if you know that when God made you, he was absolutely delighted with his creation. I wish I could tell you that. I think it’s a really important thing to know.

More than anything, I wish I could fix the things that are broken in your life.

I wish I could give you a world free of hatred and intolerance and prejudice. I wish I could give you a world where poverty and hunger are just bad memories, where ugly things don’t ever happen to children, and where every little seven-year-old boy on the planet knows how much he is loved.

The Bible tells us that there will be a day when all of those things are true, and I believe that, or at least I try to, even on the days when it’s really hard to believe. I find it really hard to believe when I’m buying a Christmas present for a seven-year-old boy I’ve never met, knowing it may be the only present he receives this year.

I hope my present isn’t totally stupid.

I hope you know how much God loves you.

And I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Elrena Evans is Editor and Content Strategist for Christians for Social Action. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Penn State and has also worked for Christianity Today and American Bible Society. She is the author of a short story collection, This Crowded Night, and co-author of the essay collection Mama, Ph.D.: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life. She enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, and making spreadsheets.

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