Back in the dark ages, Christmas gift bags weren’t really “a thing.” Most of the time gifts had to be wrapped in Christmas paper.
I LOVED (and still do) Christmas! For many reasons, of course, but one is I do have a small affinity for presents!
I would get SOOOO excited for Santa to come I’d be up at 2 am (literally) and wake up my parents. One year that didn’t fly so I went ahead and started playing with my toys alone. Apparently, it only took one year for that to happen and then their communication with Santa was that all packages had to be wrapped.
Imagine my disappointment the next Christmas morning when I went into the family room only to find gift-wrapped packages under the tree.
Not to be deterred, I gently began unwrapping them just so I could see what Santa brought. My logic was if I could at least SEE what I was getting, I would then be able to go back to sleep and would just feign surprise when we all opened presents together.
Never having done this before, I didn’t think through that the tape wouldn’t stick and it would be VERY apparent what happened.
My parents weren’t really impressed with my ingenuity but hey, it was Christmas. I was just strongly encouraged not to ever do that again.
Once we start unwrapping a gift, it’s pretty difficult to put it “back together” as if it was never unwrapped at all.
The same is true with the message of the Christ child and our faith.
It’s also a consistent theme in the Christmas story.
The birth of Jesus happened in one of the most unique yet unsanitary and difficult circumstances.
The people who were the most esteemed in society were not the first ones to receive the good news.
His parents had to flee for his safety after his birth because of the extreme jealousy of the current king.
We want the gift of Christmas to be warm, fuzzy, and exactly what we want it to be, exactly when we want it to arrive.
In our somewhat fickle human state, if it isn’t what we want it to be, we quickly try to wrap it back up, put it back in its box, and disregard the gift altogether.
In order to experience the true beauty of the Christmas gift Jesus ushered in, we have to unwrap the entire package.
We must recognize that receiving the gift doesn’t mean life is always easy, answers are always clear, and that living a life full of joy and love doesn’t require absolute sacrifice and selflessness on our part.
The gift offers hope, peace, joy, and love in and through all things. But unwrapping that certainly isn’t easy.
May we recognize that unwrapping this gift requires work on our parts. Yet the gift, when fully opened, is one that changes everything!