I was definitely the sneakiest child in our family. I was incurably curious. Always asking, always looking, peeking and doing my level best to figure out what was in the boxes under the Christmas tree. One year in particular, my curious ventures landed me in a bit of trouble. I had been asking for the “in” toy that year: a talking Big Bird. Oh HOW I WANTED THIS BIG BIRD!
Banished To Bed
In our family, we were never unaware when it was time to wrap Christmas presents. We kids would suddenly be banished to bed at a strange hour (maybe 6 pm) and there would be a sudden blast of the sound of wrapping paper, cutting, taping and the occasional whispering of, “No, turn it this way!” Or, “I told you to buy a different colour!” Did they not realize we kids heard everything?
More Than I Could Bear
My curiosity became more than I could bear when I was about 6 years old. This was the year of Big Bird. When one is 6 years old, curiosity is nearly unbearable at any level. So late one night, when everyone was asleep, I found myself behind the Christmas tree carefully working with the tape and wrapping paper on the packages. I had to know what was in the boxes. I couldn’t contain myself when I saw the coveted Big Bird peek out from behind the wrapping paper. What I didn’t predict very well was the tape losing its stickiness; the paper wouldn’t stay put! What to do?
Alas, I was discovered not long after and in subsequent years, the hiding of gifts and taping of the boxes were taken more seriously.
Doing My Best
Fast forward a few decades, I won’t say how many decades, I once again find myself working with tape and wrapping paper doing my best to conceal the gifts the paper is hiding. I wait with delight. I’m imagining my daughter’s glee when she sees what we managed to find. You see where we live, Bujumbura, Burundi, there aren’t many stores to purchase gifts from. It takes a great imagination to get gifts fit to put under a Christmas tree.
A few years ago, I managed to find a way to get a Christmas gift from the USA to Africa. A friend who was traveling was more than happy to bring a perfect gift for her. That year, we scored major points.
The Few Presents
Now, as I look at the few presents I’ve wrapped, all of them are for her, I can’t help but feel that there’s no way we can fully grasp the how wonderful the Gift was that was wrapped for us on that first Christmas. Some came to see this Gift. They came to take a sneak peek at what was coming. However, the full meaning of the Gift wasn’t fully unwrapped until some 33 years later when He surrendered His life in exchange for ours.
A Long Shadow
I also imagine the Father looking on His Son as He lived on earth with the cross casting a long shadow on His future sacrifice. It was the Father Who sent this Gift and I cannot fathom what emotion must’ve gripped the His heart every day as Jesus drew nearer to His ultimate act of giving His life as a free gift for us.
The most amazing aspect of it all? Jesus came before we knew we needed Him. He waits for us so He can give us His gift of life just at the right time. Imagine His joy when He gets to see us open this gift that was the sacrifice of His lifetime?
2 Corinthians 9:15 NCV “Thanks be to God for His gift that is too wonderful for words.”