The Christmas I was seven, I had my heart set on the most beautiful tin dollhouse in the Simpsons-Sears catalogue. It was ranch style, with a roof that lifted off so you played with it from above. The curtains and carpets were lithographed on; the plastic fireplace, doors, and window frames snapped into place; and it came with a complete set of trendy plastic furniture.
Beside the house, the catalogue displayed a doll family consisting of dad, mom, sister, and baby brother – sold separately. For weeks, I stared at the page, planning how I would arrange the furniture and which dolls would sleep in which room.
I thought I’d never survive the wait. Christmas morning, it seemed my little heart would beat right out of my body when I opened that dollhouse. I artfully placed the furniture, and it was finally ready for my doll family to move in.
But alas. The sold-separately doll family didn’t fit their new home, even though they posed so optimistically beside the house on the same catalogue page. Not only were they too large to get through the doors, sit on the chairs, or sleep on the beds, they came with a piece of paper telling us how to order a family that would fit the house!
What a rip-off! My sense of injustice and tendency toward impatience both kicked in. I figured I’d show them a thing or two by playing with the dolls anyway, as they were. I crammed their oversized bodies into the chairs and allowed them to vault over the door frames.
I managed to put in many happy hours over the next couple years, but somehow my magnificent gift always felt a little tainted.
Sometimes I remember that dollhouse and find it a little ironic that, today, I live in a tin house. I like my mobile home and, most days, I’m grateful for it. But there are times I long for a “real” house, with a foundation beneath and a garage attached.
Maybe one day I’ll have one. But if not, I know it’s going to be okay. You see, the most talented carpenter who ever walked the planet is preparing a home for me. The One who paints the sunset is choosing the colours. I don’t know what it will be made of, how large it will be, or how it will be furnished. But I do know this: I’m going to fit! It’s going to be absolutely, completely, 100 percent custom-designed for me by the One who made me and knows me better than I know myself.
And best of all, he will be there too! Now that’s a Christmas present worth waiting for…but you do need to order ahead.
“…believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1–3).
–Terrie Todd writes from from Portage la Prairie, Man., where she is an administrative assistant at city hall.