We sit close together, cups in our hands and treats in our laps and share stories of this season. Nearly everyone’s story seems to include it-that incredible desire to hurry Christmas in, to tear the tape back a bit and at least take a peek inside. And to my surprise, I’ve found myself opening gifts early this season too…gifts unexpected and found in unlikely places.
If you’re counting the days and eager to know what’s under the tree for you, here are a few ways to pull back the wrapping paper now.
1The Gift of a Memory. As I’ve prepared a few gifts for others, I’ve been sorting through screen after screen of digital pictures that have never made it onto paper. And I can’t tell you the good it’s done me-to look back at where we were a year ago or six months ago or six years ago. The memories have made me say, “Thank you, God” again and again.
2The Gift of a Song.After hearing the songs of Christmas all day, I sit still and can’t stop singing this one: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. I’m determined to memorize the words this week in order to keep the music playing even in the quiet. My favorite version is this one.
3The Gift of a Surprise. The kids and I have had the chance to give a few gifts these season that have brought a look of surprise on their recipients. And since the greater gift is for the giver, I have found myself so blessed to watch their faces light up. The little work it took to prepare the treat pales in comparison to the reward of their response. I love the homemade gift ideas here.
4The Gift of History. On the hunt for updated addresses, I’ve gotten to reconnect with friends from days gone by. After so many moves, I can start to feel like I’ve lost my history. But even brief talks with companions from long ago gives me the gift of desire to keep at the hard work of true gospel centered friendship.
5The Gift of Reality. My dad says I have a phone that only makes outgoing calls. I’ve always done a poor job of keeping in touch and now with four little ones filling my ears all day, I’m even worse (if such a thing is possible) at connecting with grandparents and older friends who’ve been like parents to me. Recently, God’s given me the gift of a few minutes on the phone with family members and friends that are living their 7th and 8th decades of life. In the midst of my hustle and hurry, their grateful voices have been a gift. Their clarity of vision on life and what matters and their insight into the brevity of these days on earth has given me the gift of gratitude. I end the call and open up new grace to slow down and open the gift of each minute this season.
There’s no tape to remove and no paper to tear, but God’s got gifts for us all to open early this season. What presents have you already enjoyed as you wait?
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13