“Go ahead, Jack, open it!”
“Come on dude, just rip into it!”
“Tear it, Jack. You can do it!”
These were the words of encouragement everyone was giving Jack as he looked at his birthday present with a blank face last week. He just sort of sat there, not opening it. It was surprising to say the least because normally, when a kid sees their birthday present, it only exists in that nice, neat, wrapped-up form for a few nano seconds before an explosion of ribbon and a tsunami of tissue paper break forth on the room of expectant gift givers frantically clicking snapshots of the ensuing delight. This little family birthday bash was as quiet as a police stake-out and included the same type of tense waiting. Jack just didn’t open his present. He didn’t know what to do.
Then it occurred to Christy that this was only his second birthday after all, and he hadn’t had a whole lot of opportunities to receive wrapped gifts. As a result, he hadn’t really learned that there are acceptable times to rip, tear and slash paper with all the ferocity of a horde of pillaging Vikings. You see, normally, if Jack ripped up some paper, he found himself in trouble, because (as he was rapidly learning) you can’t tear pages of library books, your sister’s newest piece of artwork or the third chapter of Deuteronomy. And now we were all huddled around him, encouraging to tear some paper off of this large, rectangular box. I’m sure Jack was thinking to himself, “No way, folks! I’m not about to tear this paper. I’m not sure why you’re all trying to trick me, but it doesn’t end well for me when I do this!”
When we finally tore back enough of the paper for Jack to see that there was a shiny new guitar inside the box, he forgot his reservations and finished off the rest of the wrapping to claim his gift, but it took a while. His hesitation to tear into his present was really cute, but I’m sure that one day soon, when he’s received enough gifts, he’ll figure out that wrapping paper equals presents, and that he can tear all he wants in that case. Once that day comes, opening the gifts probably won’t be that big of a deal anymore. The excitement fades with familiarity. I think this happens to everyone. We receive so much that many of us have forgotten the joy and excitement of opening the gift.
James chapter 1 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” Your life is a gift. Your spiritual life and your physical life were given to you freely by God. Every morning, when you open your eyes, you’re pulling back the wrapping paper of a gift God has given you. He didn’t have to give you another day. If you woke up today and knew your name, you received a present from God Almighty. Did you happen to say, “Thanks?”
I truly believe that one of the biggest problems people have is that they have forgotten to say thanks. We get out of bed, day after day, go to the bathroom, eat our breakfast, head out to the office or to school and just start living our whole day as if we were powering ourselves through this world on our own steam. Most people’s problem is that they forget that they have breath in their lungs because there is a God in heaven who is merciful and gives gifts. I sincerely believe that if you started everyday by stopping, your life would change from top to bottom. Give it a try sometime... maybe even right now. Relish the feeling of unwrapping God’s gift to you. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and say to Him, “Thank you. Thank you for another day. You didn’t have to give me this gift, but you did because you love me. Thank you.”