A Present that Must Be Opened

“Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go!”

It’s Christmas Eve and you can feel such excitement in the air.
We really will cross a river (The San Marcos) and we really are going to Grandmother’s house (In Dallas).
Our sleigh (an R.V. dubbed the “Gray Hawk”) is packed, warmed up and raring to go. Every nook and cranny stuffed with presents as we load up our two sons, our beautiful daughter in law, two dogs, enough turkey sandwiches to feed an army and lots of Christmas cheer. We must have been a sight to behold as we rock and rolled our way up I-35, Christmas music blasting, Christmas movies blaring and Christmas lights and candy canes swaying to and fro with every turn of the wheel. Yes…we love Christmas!

We arrived just before midnight, safe and sound and with all the stealth of Old Saint Nick. We quietly unloaded all the presents and carefully positioned them under the tree. Only a few hours of sleep separates us from the sounds of such joyous laughter as we rip these presents to shreds. I have always loved the excitement and the chaos of Christmas morning. I love seeing a sea of wrapping paper quickly flood the room. I love hearing the screams of joy followed by words like “How did you know?” and “Thank you so much!”

I love giving gifts and I love receiving gifts. Some people (Grinches & Scrooges) complain about the commercialization of Christmas but I believe gift giving can be such a wonderful expression of love especially considering the thought that goes behind finding the perfect gift. More than the gift itself is the expression of love that comes with the gift. That expression says, I really know you. I know what you like. I know what size you wear. I know your favorite color. I know what makes you laugh. After all doesn’t the ultimate expression of love say, I see you, I hear you, I know you because you matter so much to me? That’s what I like about gifts.

But a gift isn’t truly a gift until it’s opened.

Christmas celebrates the greatest gift of all, the gift of the Son from the Father to all mankind. It was the deepest desire of the Father’s heart to recreate the face to face garden relationship between man and God. He did this through sending His most valuable and precious Son. The Father gave His very best and there could be no greater expression of love offered us.

Every living and breathing person has a gift under the tree with their name on it but do they know it and will they open it? As we open the gift, we find it full and overflowing with mercy and grace and forgiveness and freedom and peace and purpose and hope and love. We are overwhelmed as we dig around and discover what each of these means. Mostly what we discover is something about us has changed for the better. Mysteriously, almost magically, we are awakened to a new found joy and peace. Suddenly life makes sense and we start caring more for others around us. Out of our own thankfulness and excitement we shout to the world and say,

hey -there is a gift with your name on it too!

I love Christmas and all the hoopla. I love all the lights and decorations. I love the parties and the family gatherings. I love eggnog. I love Christmas songs and Christmas traditions. I love the tree and all the gifts. I love for a minute or two in this busy season that you might have been encouraged by these words. God bless you friend. I hope you remember the perfect gift says, I know you and and love you! Please know in your heart, Jesus is that perfect gift. Your gift awaits…open it and experience the indescribable splendor.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We love you.