Opening the Box

An electric race car set! We found it at Sears and it was all my brother and I wanted for Christmas. Our parents made us agree to a long list of conditions but ultimately bought the large, colorful box containing race cars and track. Up to that point, in 1967, it was the most expensive gift they ever purchased.

There was no hiding it. I remember the box sitting on the back seat between me and Mark because the trunk of the Chevy Bel Air sedan was packed with groceries for the next two weeks. We lived in a very small two bedroom apartment next to the school where Dad & Mom taught on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Bismarck was the closest major city and we made the 250 mile round trip about every two weeks.

They made us wait until Christmas to actually open the box! There it was, under the tree, no gift wrapping. We studied the pictures, read everything printed on the outside of the box, made plans, and anxiously dreamed about what we would do on Christmas morning. There were multiple track layouts and we argued about which design to build first. The anticipation was so intense I can still remember when, after all the other gifts were opened, we were finally allowed to begin set-up. That race car set provided hours and hours of delight!

Now, forty-three years later, I wonder what life would’ve been like if we would’ve never opened the box? What if all we did was look at the outside and dream and make plans? What if we never snapped the track together and plugged in the transformer? What if all we ever did was study the outside of the box?

That’s how many people treat the greatest Gift of all. Jesus, God’s gift of His one and only Son, is a box we admire, maybe even read about, but fail to fully embrace, fail to enter into that eternally significant relationship.

Opening the Father’s present to us is daunting; it requires repentance, risk, and a re-ordering of priorities. The result is life-changing but the alternative is unthinkable because we miss all our Creator intends for us.

This Christmas, don’t let all the distractions keep you from experiencing the greatest Gift of all.

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