I love an unopened gift. I can leave a wrapped gift undisturbed indefinitely… which often drives the giver of the gift crazy. Carl, knew this about me, but it didn’t bother him at all — in fact he enjoyed it as much as I did. When my birthday was approaching or Valentine’ss Day, or sometimes for no reason at all, a beautiful, wrapped package would suddenly appear somewhere in the house: on the fireplace hearth; the kitchen counter; the coffee table. I would see the gift and smile. I’d walk by it a few times to view it from different angles. Sometimes I’d pick it up and shake it a little. I LOVED the gift more and more every time I saw it. It delighted me…in a sustained sort of way. I think this came from when I was a little girl, and I’d ask my mother to give me a hint about what I was getting for Christmas, and without fail she would say, “It’s a silver waddle waddle with a golden nixle.” Every time. If I’d ask what color it was, she’d say: “It’s sky-blue pink with a yellow-brown dot.” Oh, how I loved that sky-blue-pink-with-a-yellow-brown-dot silver waddle-waddle with the golden nixle. I loved it because it represented possibility. When a gift is undisturbed and still a mystery – that’s when its potential is the greatest. It’s the anticipation of this potential that is so pleasing, so life-affirming and delightful.
Seldom do we perceive the unopened gift when we hold it. But we’re holding one right now. Every morning we wake up to the unopened gift of new day. Every moment, we hold in our hands the unopened gift of time. The gift is the same for everyone, yet we fail to recognize it as such. At some point in our lives, we stop appreciating the potential of each new day. We cease to care that every moment holds possibility and promise. We grow satisfied with our lot. We get stuck in routines. We start to seek stability instead of possibility. Eventually, we begin to fear the unopened gift – because it is unknown. Unopened gifts become threatening — they are unwanted challenges to our security.
I’ve been given a rare opportunity to perceive the gift as it has been presented to me this spring. An unopened gift, full of potential; full of promise. A chance to start again. An opportunity to set out on another adventure in the Kingdom of God. I think this time God has re-gifted a few of the lovely but forgotten past-presents of my life; repackaging them so that I might enjoy them all over again. The package rattles — no, it jingles — when I shake it. I have the sense that I can re-arrange the parts in a new and delightful way — creating something new and yet familiar in some satisfying ways. Is this not what artistic expression is about? Is this not what an artist does when creating? Incorporating elements one has already perfected while practicing fresh techniques and introducing new components in order to create a whole that is a better and higher and fuller expression of what existed before.
On Monday morning, the first day after leaving the safety of the sanctuary of church, I had the distinct (albeit corny) impression that it really was the first day of the rest of my life. God has shown me the beautiful, unopened gift of possibility. So I survey the present with delight…thrilled beyond expression with the potential and the promise it holds. Have you caught a glimpse of your unopened gift?
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)