When my children were young and their Christmas gifts more plentiful, we’d make a game out of throwing away the wrapping paper. A large black lawn bag would be propped up in the corner of the room. Gift paper would be balled up and shot at the waiting hoop.
Oh, we’d fill it. There’d be plenty of paper and tissue and boxes and twist ties and impossible to remove plastic casing. Up in the air we’d launch it into the bag. The trashcan would be over flowing from all the excess wrapping.
On the day after Christmas, all that remained was the gifts. Unwrapped and sitting underneath the tree.
What would we play with, put together or enjoy? Everything was shiny and new. Never to look that good again.
Over the years, an endless supply of socks, games and stuff that I’ve given and received has come and gone. Too many for me to recall.
But few gifts have been truly memorable or long lasting enough to still be around today.
With our kids grown up now, I no longer fill stockings with legos, candy and play doh. There is much less stuff to buy. Less gift paper to throw out. No need for a massive bag to contain the trash. And far less items left underneath the tree on the day after.
But today, my heart cares less about those wrapped gifts and more about the fleeting moments of laughter and love.
I desire the intangibles that can’t be packaged – a glimpse of eternity, one more taste of His presence, a heavenly ache that fills my soul.
So, as another year and another Christmas comes to a close, I wonder, what remains?
What gifts did I unwrap that will last, to sustain me through the next year, to quench my thirsty soul?
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
This first intangible gift was a promise from our Lord. In this ever darkening world, I am easily troubled and afraid. But God gives soul gifts. Peace. Even just the word fills me with anticipation and desperate longing for a very large second helping.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
Not only does He give this gift, but He gives it in great measure. We will be FULL of joy when we are in His presence. What place on earth can dare compare?
Where else does His Spirit stir me to such intense passion to praise Him no matter what this world offers? Why would I desire to be anywhere else?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
The same God who gives joy and peace, also overflows me with the intangible gift of hope. As only He can.
Because He is the God of Hope. He gives of Himself.
I dare not hope in anything in this world, but with the power of His Spirit, the gentle whisper of hope flickers precariously in my soul. Helps me to hold on.
Yes, Christmas is over for another year. The presents are opened. The paper thrown away. The feasts indulged. The decorations taken down.
But what remains?
These three gifts. I’m holding on to these three tightly. Did you unwrap them this year?