Unwrapping Again

I’m having trouble unwrapping things today.

It’s not that I don’t want to, because I do. Nearly a year of weekly unwrapping has taught me the importance of seeing the beauty in the mundane, finding the calm in the chaos, the gift in the garbage.

God’s gifts of love to us– wrapped up in simplicity or craziness or busyness or just the ordinary– how many times have I overlooked them? Tuesdays have taught me to stop, to notice, to give thanks.

And I’m trying, but today my heart isn’t in it. I look around and I see the gifts– that sweet child still in his pajamas– a little one still asleep– the way the sunlight is resting on the plastic baby Jesus in His plastic manger– the soft slippers on my feet– a cup of coffee (such a simple yet necessary gift)– the pile of Christmas cards waiting to be hung (reminders of friends and family who care)– so much.

He is shouting out His love to me– as He shouted it from the skies of Bethlehem centuries ago– as He wailed it out in hunger as His mother wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes. I cannot help but see His love. I cannot help but see His gift.

But today, my heart rebels and thinks it isn’t enough. My weakness sees only what isn’t, instead of what is. I fret and worry and complain and cry and rethink moments of shame and of frailty and of betrayal. I am not content with His gift.

Like a greedy child, I just keep looking around for something better to unwrap.

As if the gift in the manger weren’t enough. As if the Spirit dwelling within me weren’t enough. As if family and friends and home and warmth and together weren’t enough.

As if He owes me anything.

So I must stop. I must stop, soul– heart– do you hear? Are you paying attention?

I must stop warring against peace. I must stop seeking contentment where it will never be found. I must stop looking for rest in a perfect relationship, a perfect job, a perfect Christmas tree, a perfect bank account, a perfect life. That perfection doesn’t exist.

I must unwrap the gift already within me. It’s there, soul– heart– you know it’s there. You’ve unwrapped it countless times before. It is only wrapped again because you took it and covered it up in your own expectations and baggage and drivel.

So slow down. The best gift of the season, soul– heart– you bear it within you. Get rid of that garbage of shame and anger and frustration. Unwrap that gift– don’t wait till the twenty-fifth. Don’t wait another moment.

And you will find it there–

Peace on earth.

Emmanuel. God is with us.

My soul finds rest in God alone, for my expectation is in Him.

Unwrap it. Let it lie unwrapped in your heart. Savor it. Hold it close, always unwrapped. Remember it.

And then– and only then– will the countless smaller gifts bring the joy He intends.

Our God is with us.

My God is with– and within– me.


24 thoughts on “Unwrapping Again

  1. why oh why do we re-wrap our hearts every week? but we do… i do. and then tuesday inches closer and closer and i have to really look. and sometimes i just don’t see. what you have written… makes me hope that maybe this week… i won’t re-wrap this messy heart of mine. maybe… if i leave it open to the elements it will sing. and i betcha… i will still have something to unwrap next week πŸ™‚ i love how God doesn’t give up on me… or you πŸ™‚

  2. I so needed to read this… you will never know how much. This is TRUTH. Thank you, my friend for sharing it with me… I will unwrap it!

  3. “It is only wrapped again because you took it and covered it up in your own expectations and baggage and drivel.” Oh how I can relate to this. Thank your for reminding me so succinctly to keep the gift unwrapped!

  4. Thank you for the reminder to have an open heart, open soul.
    I guard my heart hard and often. And it leaves me wrapped away from His love and grace.
    I long for the big gifts too…simply long for something more; when I know that he’s given more than I deserve.
    It is a daily struggle to unwrap my heart. But I am learning.

    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  5. What beautiful, beautiful words!

    Why is it that I fail to be thankful when I have so much? Ah, sin wars within me! So thankful for His grace– grace that pardons my sin– and brings me joy everlasting.

  6. You’re telling the story of my life. If it weren’t for the weekly reminder to “unwrap” something, I might forget to stop and look. And even then, I always am yearning for more, even though my brain (or is it my heart?) knows it’s not what I need/want but WHO. And I need to choose to be with HIm each day, unwrapping His gifts, not just once a week. Thanks for the honesty, and the reminder.

  7. Erin –
    As a regular lurker of your blog, I figured it’s about time to comment.. Anyhow…
    You consistently bless and encourage me with your words. Thank you for sharing this. Right on.

    Kimberly (from your H.S graduating class of ’97 πŸ™‚

  8. I’ve also been a lurker for far too long. I just wanted to let you know what a blessing you’ve been in my life as I’ve read about you and yours. It’s amazing how God works and I’ve been blessed over and over by just the right words or just the laugh I needed to get through a difficult day. Thanks Erin. I remember you and pray for you often-Amy from UGCS class of 97. πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks for the comment! I love your blog- what adorable kids you have!

    I noticed that you guys got some snow recently too- I live in MN and I think we got the tail-end of that snowstorm!

  10. Oh, honey. This is so moving. So raw. (And your picture of Jesus that baby crying to nurse surprised me with tears in my eyes.) You are doing so, so right by seeking this perspective, but take it easy on yourself for finding it hard. Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with your child. Hang in there, and peace to you, lady.

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