There are few things more magical to a young child than waking up on Christmas morning. Indeed, the entire Christmas season is a special time of year. Twinkly lights adorn homes looking like gingerbread houses blinking in the night. Evergreen and cinnamon hang heavily in the air as we watch Frosty, and Rudolph, and Ralphy dream of his Red Rider range model. Children wake at a brisk 6:00am with the energy to put an atomic weapon to shame. They rouse comatose parents who swear they just closed their eyes moments earlier. Then comes the mad dash to the tree and all of the brightly wrapped boxes Santa delivered earlier that night. In the corner sits a Red Rider and Ralphy would be over the moon.
Tis the gift giving season. Once upon a time you used to be able to tell a lot about a person by the way they wrapped a present. If you really cared you took a little more time to do the gift up right. You used heavy paper carefully folded. Just the right amount of tape held the paper in place. The whole package would be wrapped with a ribbon and bow and there would be a neatly printed name tag. Proper gift wrapping is an art form quickly going the way of the rotary telephone. People lack the time and patience needed to give a beautifully wrapped gift. Wrapping paper seems to get thinner every year and now to make things even faster and more convenient you can just plop your present into a gift bag. No muss, no fuss, no problem.
Sadly, far too many people are taking the same approach when they come to worship God. They fail to see themselves as the gift they truly are and are wrapping themselves as such. They believe that God doesn’t care how they dress and all that matters is that they show up. It is the thought that counts after all. This is either complacency or arrogance. Neither is a good thing.
We worship God because he alone is worthy of our worship. We worship God because we love him. He is worthy of more than a present plopped into a gift bag. God is worthy of the extra time it takes to clean up, to put on nicer clothes, to prepare ourselves to be in his presence. When we go to worship we are going to profess our love in front of the creator of all existence. We are not running down to the mega-mart for a loaf of bread.
When we wrap a gift we are putting forth an extension of the love we hold for the recipient. The more we care for that person the more time and care we should take in the wrapping. You wouldn’t present the love of your life with a ring wadded up in dirty newspaper and you shouldn’t present the gift of your love to the Lord in shorts and flip flops.
This does not mean that you have to come dressed in a three pice suit or formal ball gown, not there is anything wrong in dressing that way. It is not so much the clothes you wear as the preparation you put into it. My children have given me gifts wrapped in brown paper bags or newspaper that they are so proud of. It wasn’t that the wrapping was special but the love they put into wrapping it themselves. When we take the time to present ourselves properly to our creator he notices the love we have for him and love is never wasted with God.
You are a gift to God. Show him the love you have for him and wrap yourself just a bit better this advent season.