The Christmas season is upon us. My husband and I have begun our preparations for this special holiday. The initial task on our list was the decoration of our home. On the very same day that we packed away the Thanksgiving decor, we pulled out of storage the Christmas trimmings. Boxes and boxes, bags and bags, more boxes and more boxes were carried from the basement closet and positioned in the middle of the family room floor. After a few moments of questioning our resolve, we began the process of transformation.
The Christmas tree came first. Our children had pooled their resources last Christmas season and given us the gift of a new artificial tree. They knew our fondness for the holiday and the condition of our decades-old tree, so they presented this special gift unto us. As the tree had come packaged tightly for shipping, we had the task of opening and spreading each branch. After five hours of effort, we had the seven-foot pine unfurled. Tired but determined, we unboxed the strings of gold-colored lights and opened the containers of decorative ornaments. A few more hours later, the splendor of our gift was fully revealed; and we realized that we would be able to enjoy the light and beauty of the gift that had been given unto us for the remainder of the holiday season.
After a well-earned night of sleep, we awakened on decorating day two with revived resolve. Awaiting us in the boxes were decades-old porcelain “Snow Village” houses. My husband had a collection of these miniature replicas of early American homes and stores, and he would yearly set up a display of a small village along with its small pine trees and small figurines. Almost a decade had passed since he had undertaken the construction project; therefore, the gift, which he had given unto himself, had remained in boxes and in storage. He decided that this would be the year he would re-open, re-discover, and re-use his village. After several hours or work, we had the gift on display. The grandchildren will enjoy the panorama throughout Christmas.
Our decorating continued until we had unboxed and placed upon display each Christmas adornment. Candles were set on the sofa tables; porcelain angles were positioned on the buffet; garland was draped on the fireplace mantle; and Christmas dishes were arranged in the china cabinet. Gifts that we had purchased for ourselves and gifts that had been given unto us were each carefully and lovingly opened and exhibited. Our holiday had officially begun.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to focus on gifts. We will purchase, put in boxes, and wrap with great care special items for the special people in our lives. We will select these special gifts with knowledge of the one to whom the gift will be given. On Christmas morning, the packaged and boxed will be opened and will bring unto each a needed or desired treasure. Such is Christmas – gifts given, gifts received, gifts opened, and gifts enjoyed.
The prophet Isaiah told of a gift that God had chosen for mankind. “Unto Us” would this gift be given. The gift would initially come packaged as a babe in a manger, but the ramifications of the gift could only be comprehended by those who would look beyond the packaging. On that first Christmas and wrapped in swaddling clothes came the gift of everlasting life. Jesus was God’s gift especially selected with our needs and desires in mind.
Have we opened our gift or allowed it to be stored away for decades? Have we just admired the gift, or have we partaken of its treasures? The gift of Christ, which has been given unto us, has the power to transform and transfigure our lives and our homes.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)