We have all been amused by infants at Christmas, who get so fascinated and preoccupied by the colorful wrapping paper and ribbons and bows that they temporarily lose interest in the gift, especially if it is in a package that does not attract their attention. One of the signs of human maturity is knowing the difference between the wrapping and the gift.
For the past two months or one sixth of the year our society has been pointing to Christmas. I saw the first Christmas ad at the end of October. There have been Christmas trees and wreaths, lights and tinsel, carols and cookies, Santa Claus and Rudolph, parties and cards, and gifts purchased. In many ways all of that is the wrapping for the best gift of all: God’s gift of self to us in the person of Jesus born of Mary in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger!
In the gift of Jesus, God has embraced the human race and human history. Christmas is the celebration of that embrace! And God embraces not just human life…but my life… and your life! God embraces not just human history in general...but my history… my story… and your story! The good news is that God embraces you…God embraces me!
In the midst of all the wrappings this Christmas, don’t miss the gift! May you experience God’s personal embrace! May that experience bring you joy and peace during the Christmas season and throughout the New Year!