Compliments of the season to everyone – the season of gifts and giving.
And as I think about this season, my heart is drawn to the greatest gift humanity ever received, in the person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God. God in the flesh, clothed in humanity to save humanity. Though much of humanity today choose not to believe in Him, He still remains the most popular person in all of humanity, after so many years from His birth, death and resurrection – because He is Eternal.
These days at Christmastime, the world has drifted much towards an external and fleeting expression of its meaning. Houses decorated with fancy lights and manger scenes, Christmas trees, and the gifts – lots and lots of gifts changing hands from Santa Clause to kids from 1 to 92. And I love gifts, so that works well for me, but only on the surface.
On Christmas day, while unwrapping gifts with the kids, my about-to-be-two-years-old began ripping the wrapping off one of the boxes of gifts he had received. As he peeled the sheet, he ‘wowed’ at the sight of the box that had no labels whatsoever. I watched him intently to see if he had any idea what was in it, and as I helped him open the box to reveal its content, he exclaimed again as I revealed the spiderman sneakers his uncle bought for him. I was relieved that at least he appreciated his gift, but my relief quickly weaned as my dear son picked up the empty green box and continued to express his jaw-dropped-awestruck admiration for the empty box, completely ignoring the shoes I had just taken out. To him, the box was more a treasure than its content, and he played with it over and over again, all I could do was pack up the sneakers and put them away.
Surface. Wrapping. Boxes.
After watching my son bond with his newly acquired toy, I couldn’t help but draw a connection between his actions and us generally as humans. Look around you and you’ll see how absorbed we all are with our ‘Boxes’ – our physical bodies. From beauty products to age-defying concoctions to bodybuilding and fat burning merchandise, our entire consumer system is based on polishing our external entities. As Christmastime begins to fade into the coming season, we watch how the adverts for turkeys suddenly morph into gym subscriptions – to get the body back in shape after the season of overindulgence.
So while we work so hard to keep this outer shell in shape and in one piece, we dare ask ourselves about the content within – our soul. Have we spent near the same time and energy in its care, or do we ignore it like my son ignored his sneakers? While fixing our waistlines through diets and gym memberships, have we considered fixing our wretched hungry souls that have been starved of light and love from our lack of communion and communication with Jesus and His Spirit?
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
It’s so easy to focus all our attention on our physical state and neglect the spiritual because we cannot see it. But contrary to how we have stacked our physical and spiritual components in the pyramid of importance, it would do us a world of good to know that what we can see and what we spend most of our time on is as temporal as a flower after spring. And if we focus all our attention and energy on it, ignoring the most eternal of our components, we are only just like my little son who is yet to comprehend the difference between a priceless gift and its wrapping.
So why don’t you spend some time in prayer today, and some time with the word of God? Find refreshing in His presence, as He restores your soul.
Treasure the content, and not the box!