We have a big trip planned for our family. We are taking the kids to Disney World! Dan and I have been talking about this trip for a few years. We picked the right time to take it (when both kids are still little enough to enjoy the magic, but big enough to go without naps), researched, and started planning. The trip is SO very close that I can almost touch it, but the kids have no idea that it’s coming. Dan and I decided to keep it a surprise for a few reasons.
If we tell the kids ahead of time, we will spend the days preceding the trip fending off the repetitious questions: “When are we going? Is it today? What will we do there? When are we going? Are you packing my favorite blankie/animal/shirt/toy? How many days until we go? How are we getting there? When are we going?” and on and on. Personally, I’d rather not suck the joy out of our family vacation getting grilled by little interrogators for weeks on end.
I’ve been spending the days secretly planning special things for the trip. I have ordered trading pins online, gotten deliveries from Disney, asked the kids seemingly random questions (“If you could only watch 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would you pick?” – I asked this one so I would know which DVDs to pack on our carry-on bags.), and I’ve even been playing a little Disney music when we are driving in the car. (I’ve gotten the “It’s a small world after all…” hook firmly embedded in their brains.)
As I plan the trip and we are on the cusp of departure, I find myself wishing I could tell the kids about it. I debate telling them, and always end up keeping it quiet because I know the joy they will have once they are told. The joy I feel, knowing I am planning this amazing gift for them, is almost as good as actually giving them the gift. And isn’t that the truth about gift-giving? When you are giving something wonderful to someone you love, when you’ve picked out THE perfect gift for them or painted them THE perfect canvas, the anticipation you feel in waiting to unveil the gift is so much a part of the giving.
I wonder if God feels this way. He has planned a great adventure for me, and knows how much longer it will be until I depart. He knows how I’m going to get there. He knows what to pack to equip me for the journey. I sense a hint of this adventure every now and then, and wonder what He has up His sleeve. There will come a day when the adventure starts, and I’ll realize how long and how lovingly God has planned every single detail of my trip. I’ll hear a snippet of “It’s a small world after all…” and know – without a doubt – that God placed that song in my heart long ago so I could one day sing it with Him. [You know that’s a sort of metaphor, right? I am not really sure I’ll be singing “It’s a small world after all…” with God. But I will be singing, that’s for sure!]
I haven’t told my kids because I know the knowledge they would gain would likely ruin things a bit. They would spoil the fun because they’d want to know more more MORE! So, for now, I research and plan and lovingly choose experiences for them that I already know will blow their minds. That’s what makes giving as good as receiving!
Edit: We have gone and returned from Disney now. Man, you should’ve seen my kids’ faces when we got into the boat and turned the corner and they heard the first strains of, “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. It’s a world of hope and a world of fears…” Katie said, “Hey! We know that song! It’s a small world after all!” Aaaaah, bliss!