The Unopened Gift you ever feel as if, just when the approaching holidays are supposed to make everything merry and bright, that instead a pressure cooker has been turned on?   Does the pace of your already busy schedule become increasingly frenetic as you desperately attempt to cover all the bases, buy gifts for those you love and those you wish to honor in some way, write cheerful greetings to those far away, and ensure everyone’s favorite food is featured at the Christmas table?  On the other hand, if this past year has included suffering and loss, the gaping hole in your heart may seem to expand during the holiday season, and the empty silence screams for your attention as decorations grow garishly offensive.  Whichever extreme you are experiencing, you may simply wish for all the holiday hoopla to be past.

All the while, whether frenzied or fainting, we long for peace, simplicity, and a sense of restful fulfillment… yet the tyranny of the season continues to assault our senses.  In the meantime, a gift waits for us, a gift that has arrived in packaging we can easily admire and approach, yet a gift that we too often fail to open completely.  Emmanuel, God-With-Us, arrived swaddled in the wrapping of human flesh.   He was, at least in His initial presentation, adorable and endearing — a mere baby.   This Baby in the manger attracts us and invites us to approach Him.  His power, forgiveness, grace, glory, and authority wait to be unwrapped by those of us who can muster ourselves to draw near to Him.   Unfortunately, in my hasty preparations for the holiday, how easily I shove the first and best Gift to the back of the tree, inadvertently postponing an encounter with the One who promises to fill and free me!

Jesus, thank You for beckoning me to the manger, every day and every moment; thank You for inviting me to unwrap the Gift of Your Presence.   You always stand at the door of my heart and knock.    Thank You for Your persistent, tender invasion of my soul.  Thank You for Your redeeming power, even in this swirling storm of activity,  You are Lord, indeed, whether, at a given moment, I perceive Your voice or not. Help me to listen and hear You.  Empower me to open the Gift of You; You never leave me or forsake me, and You alone are the source of joy that remains!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20 (ESV)



Filed under Where Are You Now?

2 responses to “The Unopened Gift

  1. lizortelle

    Thank you Christine for this reminder, to focus on the greatest gift given to me, Gods love and Grace. He has given me so much, He has given me eternal life, what more do I need? I’m so reminded of this by reading your words tonight. Thank you for sharing your heart Christine. You’ve blessed me and encouraged me when I feel that I needed it most!
    Thank you also for blessing us with your wonderful son Tim! He is a true servant, and seems happiest when he is serving others! He is a gem, and I thank you for sharing him with our family!
    God bless you and your family, have a wonderful Christmas!
    Much love,
    Liz Ortelle


  2. lizortelle

    Christine, you have captured my heart with your words, you’ve reminded me of the most important gift of all, and I thank you. I needed this, and I’m so reminded of where my heart wanders in the busyness of all you share in this post. I’m so thankful for the grace that God so willingly gives us, such undeserving grace when I’ve neglected the One who has given me so much! He is so worthy of so much more than I give to Him in my daily life. How wonderful He is to forgive a sinner like me, to love me unconditionally, and carry me to His throne of Grace.
    God bless you richly as you’ve touched a heart like mine in your writing tonight. I’m so blessed by you, and I thank God for you and your family! We are so blessed by your son Timothy, he is such a servant! He seems the happiest when he is helping others. You raised him well, thank you for sharing Him with us!! I do hope and pray you all have a joyous Christmas!
    Much love,
    Liz Ortelle


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