In the U.S., we spend $3 billion a year on gift wrap. $3,000,000,000 for colored paper. Each year. We place a high value on wrapping gifts. I gotta ask… why? Why do we spend so much on something destined for the recycle bin?
Presentation perhaps. It looks nice. It reflects care and attention. Then there’s the element of surprise. We do enjoy watching the surprised look on someone we gave a great gift to.
When I was a kid, my family opened wrapped presents on Christmas Eve. In the days before Christmas Eve, it was exciting to see all those packages under the tree with my name neatly printed on them. Day after day, I would pass by the tree wondering what was in those colorful packages.
Remember that feeling of opening up a present that stunned you? Parents remember; they start getting the camera ready as their child begins to unwrap a special gift, eager to get a photo of their awestruck child overcome with joy.
There are similarities in our gift-wrapping traditions and God’s gift-giving protocol. It makes me wonder…
- Are the unknowns that precede receiving God’s gifts part of His “surprise”?
- Could it be that God does not reveal what, how or when He is going to deliver… so we will experience the thrill of a surprise present?
- Does our delight in the revealing of His gift put a smile on His face, like a parent watching their child open a special surprise?
- Is there a spiritual photo album of God’s great gift-giving moments: pictures of His kids expressing joy with a particular gift He has chosen just for us?
- Is our participation as grateful recipients part of the combination key that unlocks hearts, opens arms, puts smiles on faces, and renews a longing to be near God?
Maybe we get anxious waiting for answers to our questions and prayers because we do not see Him as the generous and steadfast Father that He is. In retrospect, we see the evidence of Him generously providing for His children; we even take it for granted sometimes. We have no reason to doubt Him. Yet we fear He won’t come through….
What if God’s plan to pleasantly surprise us is overshadowed by our insistence of gift delivery on our schedule? What if we believed that God will always answer in the best and most timely way?
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4
Considering this, I won’t look at wrapping paper the same way. In the future, I will feel inclined to carefully wrap gifts instead of shoving them into a bag and burying them with tissue paper. A specially wrapped gift is a token of affection and love, and a demonstration of sincere desire to see the other person’s delight.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17