Unwrapping His Presents

photo of two brown wrapped gifts on wooden table
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Christmas is here! This time of year has me doing all manner of reflecting. Christmases past as a young girl living with her grandparents. Christmases when my own kiddos were little. Christmases now that my kiddos are no longer kiddos. We’ve been talking about favorite memories, favorite gifts, favorite traditions. 

Back in the day (when I walked 5 miles to school in the snow…you know the drill…) we didn’t get a lot of “in-between” things. I’m not sure if it’s so much that we couldn’t afford it, though we didn’t have a lot of money, but more like lessons were being taught on waiting and wonder, patience and anticipation. Like that time all I wanted for Christmas was a Mrs. Beasley doll. Would they? Could they? Find one. Buy one. Wrap one. Would she be waiting for me under the tree? I couldn’t sleep with the thought of it! 

I’ve become spoiled. With a swift click of a computer key, I can order whatever I want and have it delivered within a day or two with prime shipping. All while sipping coffee in my jammies. I never have to leave the comforts of my home, fight holiday traffic or the woman who is also going for the last thing on the shelf and my list. 

There is little waiting for my wants to be fulfilled. 

I wonder if this has left me with little wonder of the season. 

I wonder if this has left me with atrophied muscles when I have no choice but to wait. 

I wonder if I am so used to getting what I want, when I want that I no longer know what want even feels like. 

I wonder if this spills into other areas of my life. 

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Babies. They sure do teach us a lot about waiting and anticipation, don’t they? It’s like they’re on their own timetable and we are at their mercy. There was much expectancy as Mary, the mother of Jesus, approached her due date. 

She couldn’t hurry things along. 

She couldn’t control the government decree and it’s terrible timing. 

She couldn’t control the gossip, the looks, the whispers surrounding her pregnancy. 

Trust was a must as she watched this story unfold and become the life she was called to live.

Oh, the wonder of it all! 

There was much pondering of things, storing them in her heart as she watched God move in her life and now her tummy. 

The wonder she must have felt at being chosen. 

The wonder of the timing of the decree. 

The wonder of having no place to stay. 

The wonder of the birth on that holy night. 

The wonder of the shepherds visit. 

The wonder of the wisemen’s gifts. 

The wonder of Joseph’s dream to flee for their safety. 

The wonder of the words spoken by Anna the Prophetess and Simeon.

The wonder of the future for her baby Boy. 

The wonder of what it all means. 

His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. (Luke 2:33)

Mary and Joseph got to experience so many gifts that could be stored up in her heart. Confirmations along the way. Open doors. Closed ones too. Provisions provided. Words spoken. Scripture tells us that Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. (Luke 2:19)

She watched. She waited. She meditated. She sat in the mystery of it all and wondered. 

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I must confess, I haven’t always been good at unwrapping my gifts. Maybe it’s because I wanted what someone else got…like the time I really wanted the flower planter box my friend got from her man instead of the homemade ping pong table I got from mine. 

But seriously. 

What happens when I am given gifts that go unopened, unused, unwanted? I miss out. So does everyone around me. 

I have a Father who is the giver of good gifts. (Matthew 7:11) I walked around most of my adult life being jealous of others’ gifts but never having even opened mine. It’s been in the last decade or so that I’ve not only opened them but used them, appreciated them, exercised them and watched in wonder, be a gift to others which is the biggest gift of all. 

What about those unseen gifts? Like peace, joy, contentment.

Jesus wasn’t kidding when He told us that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) Just look around or turn on the news or scroll through your social media pages for a hot second. Trouble is brewing. 

I can try to eat my way to peace. 

I can try to Amazon Prime my way to contentment. 

I can try to jump through man’s hoops for joy. 

Or I can go to the Source of all those things, the Giver of peace, joy and contentment. (We’ll be talking about “Unwrapping His Presence” next week.) 

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I have this gift of wonder that Mary had, I need only open it. I’m able to watch and ponder things in my own heart like treasures from heaven. Even when. 

It’s how I can experience:

Grief and joy at the same time. 

Fear when acting courageously. 

Peace in a pandemic. 

Hope in hopelessness. 

Love for our enemies. 

Wonder is what makes me able to see/feel light in the darkness.

Wonder is what makes me anticipate with trust. 

Wonder allows me to be: 

Loved and lovable. 

Accepted and acceptable. 

Valued and valuable. 

That Babe in a manger brings with him much wonder, much anticipation, and many gifts. 

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I’m learning to watch, wait and meditate. 

I’m learning to sit in the mystery and the wonder of it all.

I’m learning to grow spiritual muscles in the anticipation of what God is up to. 

I’m learning to open and use the gifts given by the One who was such a gift so many years ago. 

In the midst of office parties, get togethers, hustle and bustle, shopping, decorating, baking and memory making, may this season also be one of watching, waiting, and reflecting on the wonder of the best Gift of all.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2Corinthians 9:15)


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