This Christmas, my parents got me a wonderful gift. I had asked for it, but I wasn't actually expecting to receive it. Early in the morning, with drowsy eyes and messy hair, I unwrapped the red and green, Santa-lined wrapping paper. My eyes opened wide as I realized that the box I was holding held a shiny new camera. A nice one. Not too nice, since I'm a beginner, but nicer than any camera I'd ever had before.

I was ecstatic. I immediately opened the box, and my older brother helped me set up the camera. The assembly wasn't too difficult, and with its super easy and efficient automatic setting, the camera was (for my purposes at the time), not too difficult to use. I began to take pictures of the rest of my family as they unwrapped their presents.

There's something truly amazing about capturing a candid smile in HD quality. Something incredibly beautiful about being able to see the freckles on your little brother's face as he poses for the camera. Something magical about recording the laughter in your dad's face as he opens the dumb little present you got for him.

I uploaded all the pictures from that Christmas morning to my computer, and the joy in the faces of my family brought joy to me. Sure, they would have been happy regardless of whether or not I captured it on my beautiful new camera, but it felt like such a privilege that I'd been able to do so. Since then, I've taken my camera and been able to relive the view of a great mountain range in the distance, a sunset on a city street, and the joy of baking with friends I hadn't seen for months.

Maybe it sounds superficial or far-fetched, but I really believe this gift of a camera is so much more than a camera. It's going to be a memory maker, a memory capturer, a memory in itself. I will be able to pull up those pictures and see the light in my family's eyes, the color in the landscapes I will see, and I will begin to realize the beauty in everything around me. A material thing is only a material thing. But the moments my camera lens might capture will be so much more than any gift I could be given.