It’s almost here! Christmas! As a child, 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 inquiring 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!
Now, 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?
My curiosity became more than I could bear one Christmas when I was about 6 years old. 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 in an attempt to find out what was in the boxes. I couldn’t contain myself when I saw the 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.
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 they are hiding. I wait with delight, imagining my daughter’s glee when she sees what we managed to find. You see where we live now, Blantyre, Malawi, there aren’t many stores to purchase gifts from; it takes a great imagination to get gifts under the tree. This year I did manage to find someone who was traveling to bring back a perfect gift for her – and I know we will get major points for this! This was important to us this year as she’s missing her brothers and sisters far away in the USA. That God blessed her with something special this year just makes me smile.
Yet, as I look at the few presents I’ve wrapped, some (most of them actually) for her, others for some church friends, 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, to take a sneak peek at what was coming but the Gift wasn’t fully unwrapped until some 33 years later when He surrendered His life in exchange for ours.
I also imagine the Father looking on His Son as He lived on earth those 33 years with the cross casting a long shadow into His future sacrifice. It was the Father Who sent this Gift in Christ 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 to us.
The most amazing aspect of it all? Jesus came before we knew we needed Him and waits for us so He can give us this gift of life just at the right time. Imagine His glee 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.”