Dear Titus the Honorable and Cohen the Goodhearted,

Christmas is coming! This is an exciting time of the year for the Moores as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Very soon, the family will ask what I want for Christmas. I will tell them I don’t need anything, and then they will go to the dollar store to try and find some trinkets so I won’t sit empty-handed while everyone else is opening their Christmas presents.

Titus and Cohen, I have to be honest with you: There are a lot of things I want for Christmas. But you can’t buy these gifts in a department store or order them online. You won’t find them on Aisle 3 of Dollar General or stacked high on a pallet in some warehouse.

What I want won’t fit in a Christmas stocking, and it can’t be wrapped in brightly decorated paper. But before I tell you what I want, let me first tell you what I don’t want.

Please don’t give me anything to make me smell good. I have a drawerful of those tiny bottles containing every kind of smell mankind can dream up. They have French names I can’t pronounce like “eau de toilette,” which sounds a whole lot like “I do toilets.” 

If my math is correct, I will be 273 years old before I run out. So maybe in the years to come, I will wrap up these bottles and pass them on to you two for Christmas. That way you can start your own dust-collector collection.

I don’t need a sweater with an elf on it, or even the shelf the elf came on. I don’t need socks, underwear or T-shirts. I also have enough of those to last a long time.

I have arrived at the age where if I don’t start passing on my earthly possessions, someone might label me a hoarder. I don’t want to burden you with having to go through all of this stuff when I pass away.

I know you are going to ask, “Why did Poppy save all these bottles of cologne?”  Just look at each other and say simultaneously, “He was a crazy old man!” That way, I’ll get a chuckle from the other side. Besides, no one ever gave me my favorite cologne; it is called “Tester.” 

Now, allow me to share a few items I do want. I want a hug every time we meet. Not a begrudging hug, but one of those famous make-you-grunt Moore Boys’ hugs. They make you laugh and me smile. Hugs are mysterious things, though; they touch the body, heart and soul simultaneously. So this Christmas, I want a year’s supply of hugs.

I also want you to fill our home with laughter. Children have the purest laughter on earth; it comes from your heart and pours out through your eyes. That kind of laughter transforms a house into a home. As long we can laugh together, we can handle whatever life may throw our way. 

I want you to give me the gift of sharing your hopes and dreams, for that is what tomorrows are made of. No dream is too big and no hope too small that I don’t want to hear them. We are a family of dreamers, and those dreams become the blueprints for our lives.

I want us to continue our adventures together. I know we have gone to the dark forest and found the magic pond, but there is a lot more out there. I yearn for the day our adventures will take us to foreign soil and together we can share the love of Christ.

And I will always want the gift of you learning about Jesus. Someday, I want the Christ of Christmas to become Lord of your life. This is the most important thing to your Poppy. It was Jesus who made a difference in my life, and He will do the same for you. I know you guys are too young to make that decision, but you are never too young to learn about Him.

Now let me check my list: hugs, check; laughter, check; sharing, check; adventures, check; learning, check. Now if you can wrap hose things up in love, Poppy will have the best Christmas ever.

Do you know what one word describes all these things? Relationship. Yes, I want the same thing God wants from you, and that is a relationship. That’s also why Christmas is not about toys, clothes, candy and lights; it is all about a relationship. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

And guess what? A relationship with Jesus is sweeter than a drawerful of eau de toilette.