How Do You Unwrap Your Christmas Present?

I have called myself a Christian for many years yet somehow had never experienced that overwhelming joy that only the presence of the Holy Spirit can give. Was I alone in this? Maybe others, like me, have been equally slow in allowing their hearts to open up in childlike trust to the gift of the Holy Spirit. I closed my eyes in prayer and found myself viewing a short film, a film in which a Christmas scene was being played out in front of my eyes. I was in a sitting room, beautifully decorated in glorious Christmas regalia with an abundance of glittery tinsel, bulging stockings and a brightly lit tree. I could see young children eagerly unwrapping their Christmas presents, lovingly watched by misty father -like figure. The scene would switch from child to child and strangely I somehow became aware of the fate of each present in the passing of time.

Children, like most adults, all respond differently when receiving gifts. Some rip off the packaging in a flurry of excitement and then play with the box, the pretty packaging taking precedence over the actual toy. Then there are those who carry their gift proudly in front of them, advising all they meet about its value. Their gift has become a status symbol, a mark of self-importance within their world. Others reverently unwrap the gift, stare at it wistfully through its plastic packaging for a moment and then carefully put it on display, packaging and all. Occasionally they will return to view it, clean off the dust and them return to their daily life. I had always feel a sense of real sadness watching those antique programmes where children's' trains or dolls had been unearthed, carefully preserved in their original packaging for decades, their original purpose long since forgotten. Then there are those who leap up and down in excitement, and play endlessly with their gift until some thing else catches their attention. Their gift is then discarded, like some forgotten relic, encased in dust under the bed and eventually abandoned. Some do recognise the value of their gift but are just too impatient to take the time and effort to read the instructions. It then fails to do everything it promised and the owner becomes frustrated and casts it aside. Finally there are those who recognise and cherish their gifts. Their faces shine with happiness as they gently remove it from the box and clasp it close. They take their time, read the instructions carefully and make sure they understand how to get the best from it. They nurture it and best of all share it with others.

Romans 5; 5 tells us that Gods love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, a precious gift given to each one of us by God. Through Jesus Christ God, the Holy Spirit comes to live within each of us. The question is what are we doing with this gift that has been so freely given to us? Do we enjoy the packaging; all the components of church life but then forget to reflect His love and compassion in our daily lives? Are we really doing all we can be His Hands to those around us, especially those who have been stigmatised within our community? Or perhaps some of us enjoy the status of playing that special role within the church, such reading the gospel or arranging the flowers, but forget that being his representative on earth means living His Way 24/7 and not just on Sunday. Some of us become seasonal Christians, enjoying Christian fellowship at Christmas or Easter but then return to our own lives for the rest of the year. Like the tinsel and fairy lights, God becomes something that we enjoy symbolically and pack away once the season's celebrations are over.

As a teenager I loved God passionately. I attended church regularly, spent months living at Taize, an ecumenical community in France, and even linked up with the Sacred Heart nuns working there. I spent quality time with these nuns and even began to plan a future with them. All I needed to do was get a teaching degree so that I had a real skill to bring to their community. Much to my shame, once I had entered further education, I met some one who was not a Christian and my faith over the next four years, slowly dribbled away, like a leaky paddling pool. Just like that once- loved Christmas present, my faith too was pushed under the bed, mislaid and accruing dust. Perhaps, as you read this, you too desperately seek God's will for you? You have regularly attended church, but feel unable to set aside the time each day to read the Bible and learn how the live a life that is pleasing to God? To know the will of God we must wash ourselves in His Word. Certainly for me, once I had my son, I had some seemingly legitimate excuses for why I could not do this. I was a young mum with a baby, then a toddler and finally a teenager. I also cared for my elderly mum as well and had a stressful job running a class, then a nursery school, a Special Needs Department and finally a school. What I didn't realise at the time was, that had I just set aside even just one hour a day to read the Bible, my life would have been so much more joyful and fulfilling. I would often meet Christian friends who seemed so much happier and more relaxed than me and felt frustrated that life seemed easier for them. It's only in retrospect that I came to realise that they actively sought to find His will each day. They worshiped together as a family and shared Gods love in all aspects of their lives. They used Gods instruction manual every day and, as a result, found it far easier to understand and overcome the daily challenges and pitfalls of living a Christian life in an increasingly secularised world.

How do you open your Christmas present?

Mandy Edwards

Receive our free newsletters

The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available. 


The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.

Visit Answers2Prayer

Subscribe Here:
The Illustrator
The Nugget

Your email:

Please be aware that you will receive a confirmation message via email. Once you receive it, please click on the link mentioned in the email. If you have problems please email us.