Most everyone has, or will have the parental experience of purchasing First Christmas gifts. Theoretically, the kids enjoy the process . . . maybe even as much as we do . . that’s what the goal is anyway.
Ripping paper – what fun! Opening the box and then emptying the contents. We all know what happens next . . . go ahead and tell me . . . say it out loud. They ignore the gift and play with the box and we are somehow surprised.
As adults we would quickly go to the gift. We know just how much time and money it takes to choose the right gifts. As we make the purchase we have this visual upcoming event trailer in which our children are overwhelmed with our love expressed in the very thing that they wanted.
It is so obvious in the Christmas setting.
What about the gift of salvation?
What does God see in the way that we receive His greatest gift?
Sadly too many fall in love with the presentation, the package and the wrapping. Many church goers spend lifetimes playing with wrapping and boxes and never experience the gift. Worse than that, they become like that in their own gift giving . . . the communication of the gospel is with all good intentions, morphed into box peddling.
As second generation givers, we spend more time than ever concentrating on just the right package rather than just the right gift. More and more, people are disillusioned and disinterested in beautiful empty packages that promise something in the promotion that is precariously absent in the presentation.
Let me challenge you just a bit at the end of this reading to look at the practice of your faith . . . find the gift . . . discard the package. As beautiful as the box may be it won’t satisfy you, your friends or your family.