It was Christmas after my first semester freshman year and my dad was so excited to give me this one particular gift. As he handed me my gifts under the tree he kept holding one back, explaining that it was special and he wanted me to open it as the final thing.
I was struck by the heaviness of the package. To be so small, it sure did weigh a lot. But – he was so excited, I assumed it had to be a “great” thing!
I opened it to find a money bag.
Inside the bag were 10 rolls of quarters.
But 400 quarters? What 19-year-old wanted 400 quarters as a “wow” Christmas present?
In hindsight, I should have been elated with the gift!
That sum of money is nothing to sneeze at now. But 30 years ago, it was a pretty significant amount of change, especially for a college student.
But the thoughts of carrying around quarters to pay for things, frankly – was just embarrassing.
I looked at my dad in disbelief. His smile continued as he explained the purpose was so I’d never run out of money to do laundry. (Apparently, I’d complained about having to find quarters).
At the time, that simply did not seem like a “great idea” to me. But as time passed and the year continued, I grew to appreciate those quarters very much.
I learned they could easily be exchanged with my peers so that they could do their laundry . . . ultimately I ended up with the type of currency I desired.
In my dad’s eyes, the gift was both strategic and extravagant.
In my eyes, it was a nuisance.
It all came down to perspective and what one wanted to both see and receive.
Isn’t that a lot like the gift of Jesus, The Christ?
If we are looking for the hope that the gift is going to make everything easy and trouble-free, we are in for some significant disappointments.
Nowhere is it stated that following Jesus, loving Jesus makes everything trouble-free.
If we are willing to understand that the strategy behind the gift is to show us an entirely new way of being, then the extravagance of the gift is breathtaking.
Salvation, transformation comes by receiving the new way of looking at life and love that Jesus brings.
May we be willing to see the gift of Christ in its entirety.