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December 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Because my own birthday and my son’s fall one and two weeks before Our Savior’s, December has long been a time for me to reflect on my failings and successes as a father—and on redemption.

Our redemption is made possible by the Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas, but Jesus makes clear in the prayer he taught us that Divine forgiveness is contingent on human forgiveness. At the level of my own family I am reminded at these three intimate gatherings in December how blessed I am to have been forgiven for my all too many  defects of character made all too manifest in the crucible of family life.

Just as any forgiveness of son by father, father by son, and spouse by spouse, shares in the forgiveness of Our Father, so any blessing, any heartfelt and unselfish gift extended within the family or between people shares in God’s gift of Jesus to us.

I love getting presents, especially if they are astutely given, because then they show the giver truly sees me for who I am. My favorite of all time was a mock award I received in the 1970s at a theatre fundraiser where each reviewer was given an appropriately adorned rubber duck. My duck, because my reviews came with a conservative Christian perspective, had wore a tinfoil knight’s helmet and carried a tiny lance: it was my “medieval crusader duck.” Bang on target.

The present my Lord and Saviour gives me each Christmas now is a close and happy relationship with my wife Jayne and my son Jonathan. Much, much closer than I deserve.