In some ways, Christmas seems to be all about the packaging.
Each year, advertisers and marketers work hard to sell us on fancy, brightly wrapped packages with oversized bows and ribbons — the more the merrier.
And there’s something to be said for a fully decked-out Christmas tree surrounded by dozens of colorful boxes just waiting to be opened.
That’s a visual many adults remember from their childhood, and as parents they try to pass on that same rush of color and excitement to their own young children.
Understandably, it’s a big part of what the holiday is about for many families, both in Central Texas and around the world.
This part of Christmas is so central to our celebration of the holiday that we annually take part in a host of campaigns — motorcycle toy runs, Santa Pal programs, church-sponsored gift drives and “angel tree” campaigns to ensure that children throughout our local communities — especially those from families facing economic hardships or those with a parent in prison — have packages to open on Christmas morning.
The concept behind these efforts is elegant in its simplicity: These gifts are meant to show the recipients that they are loved.
And that’s so important in a world that for many is filled with anxiety and uncertainty.
More than 2,000 years ago, Christians believe, God showed even greater love and compassion by sending his only son to earth to prepare the way for salvation.
In doing so, he removed all uncertainty for generations of followers who believe that the Christ child brought into this troubled world a peace that passes all understanding, and embodied the promise of eternal life.
For millions of Christians around the world, this holiday is a celebration of that perfect gift — a gift that cannot be exchanged but only redeemed.
Here in Central Texas and around the world, families are gathered on this holiday — sharing food, fellowship and laughter, and witnessing the wonderment in a child’s eyes on Christmas morning.
In experiencing these simple blessings, we get a glimpse of that special peace that arrived on that very first Christmas, more than 2,000 years ago.
That’s the best gift we can hope to receive.
No fancy packaging necessary.