I don’t like opening gifts on Christmas Eve. When I hear of a family that has this tradition, I want to intervene and ask, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? What about the fun of waking up to all those unopened packages?” I am trying to see the other point of view. I don’t like the idea of opening gifts tonight, but there may be something to it. Certainly, it poses a healthy challenge for me. Christmas would not be a day for anticipating gifts. The excitement would come, instead, from appreciating the gifts I’d already received. I guess I might start reading the new book and imagining how its ideas will affect me. I could think about using that restaurant gift card to take a friend to dinner. I might observe my family doing the same with their gifts, and pray that they will find new joys and interests in the new year.
Thankfully, I’ll have time tomorrow to do both – anticipate and reflect, wait and receive – but only if I make the effort. Appreciating the known gift is especially important at Christmas. THE Christmas gift arrived long ago, when God entered the world as a baby, when the creator of all possibility took on human limits to show us how we might have life, and have it more abundantly.
A version of this, “When the gifts are opened,” appeared on the Women of the ELCA blog one year ago today. It was written by Emma Crossen.