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.