In my short 30 years on earth, I have given numerous gifts.
Some of them are neatly wrapped in large boxes with flashy paper. Others are covered in a simple butcher paper and adorned with elaborate bows. Some are enclosed in a trendy gift bag with color-coordinated tissue paper. While others have big, curly ribbons cascading off a perfectly square-shaped box.
Besides the Grinch, who doesn’t enjoy giving and receiving a gift in a pretty-packaged box?
But then there are those…other packages.
The ones that are packaged in misshapen boxes with paper from last year. The boxes wrapped with lumps and bumps and funky edges. The packages that have been accosted by too much tape and have a ribbon that’s seen better days. Or those boxes that have an extra strip of paper that’s been awkwardly secured to the gaping hole at the bottom of the box because someone miscalculated or ran out of paper.
And unless you and all your loved ones have gone to professional wrapping school (that would be fun), who hasn’t given and received a gift like mentioned above?
And though I may prefer giving packages that might find themselves on the cover of Good Housekeeping or in a department store displayed under a perfectly-decorated Christmas tree, those…other packages still hold lovely gifts.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about this idea of gift-giving.
“Why? Christmas is 120 days away! Give me a break, Jessica. Wait a minute…you said 120 days? My goodness, a premature Black Friday will soon be on its way!”
So even though Christmas is not RIGHT around the corner, I remind myself that I am wrapping up gifts for my kids (every day), and they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and shades.
Some of my gifts are wrapped in shimmery packages and trimmed with fun times, “yes you can’s,” extra help, focused attention, and immediate gratification. My kids LOVE these packages and even GRAVITATE toward them. Who wouldn’t? I know I do.
But in the past few months I’ve also been wrapping a bunch of other gifts that would probably fall under the “those…other packages” category
So what have I been wrapping?
Well, a bunch of gifts have recently been covered in “no’s.”
Another stack of gifts have been enclosed with tags that read, “not right now.”
Several of my gifts have been wrapped with ribbons of discipline.
Other gifts have been enveloped in an ugly paper trimmed with font that says, “The world is not about you.”
A myriad of gifts have been garnished with boundaries.
A growing number of gifts have been papered with, “You can do this on your own.”
And somewhere in my stack of gifts, there is also a pile wrapped with chores and responsibilities.
On the outside, these gifts are hardly appealing and most certainly take a back-seat to the gifts that sparkle and draw the eye. It doesn’t take an Einstein brain to understand why those…other packages are not only overlooked but also even undesired at times.
Let me give you an example…
Recently, I was in the middle of giving one of those…other packages when my son pipes up and says, “Mommy, you’re not being very gracious.”
Bless my ears! He does listen to the words that come out of my mouth!
Bless my mind!! He is three and already trying to use my words against me!!
I’m not sure how I managed to stifle the giggles, but I did, and I turned to him and said, “Buddy, I am being gracious. Because I love you, I refuse to let you make bad choices without receiving consequences.”
Case in Point…these other packages are not always the anticipated gifts my children want and desire. But even though these other packages might not glimmer and glow right now, they are holding priceless treasures. And each day as I wrap, I keep reminding myself of this. Because if I’m being completely honest, sometimes it’s easier to succumb to their puppy-eyed pleas and give them the gifts they want. And sometimes it’s super hard to resist my people-pleasing guilt and offer those…other (less than enjoyable) packages, the lumpy, bumpy, boring ones.
The gift of submitting to authority
The gift of patience
The gift of persevering under adversity
The gift of obedience
The gift of selflessness
The gift of respecting others
The gift of independence
The gift of sacrifice
The gift of work ethic
The gift of confidence
The gift of self-control.
If you boiled it down, I guess you could say that I’m attempting (coupled with God’s grace, His work in them, and their obedience to Him) to give my children a great, big gift certificate that someday reads: “Congratulations! Over the course of your life, you have been given a series of gifts that have contributed to you NOT being an entitled, disrespectful, lazy, selfish, co-dependent, out-of-control tantrum-throwing tyrant who believes the world revolves around you!”
And though there is nothing wrong with giving gifts that glitter (because there’s most definitely a place for those happy packages), I also want to be found faithfully wrapping and giving those… other packages.