Friday, December 5, 2008
Yesterday I wrapped Christmas presents, at least a few. Books. Often it is books in our house. We keep a lot of libraries supplied. Of course, we read them first.
Anyway, I wrap like a man. The corners are wrinkled, and even when I pick a sack to put some book in, it has a slit down the side or something and doesn't work like it should, so I tape it up. That happened yesterday. A beautiful sack--made in China, isn't everything?--had a seam they hadn't glued.
Yesterday it occurred to me that maybe the wrapping is the real act of love. At least it is a large part of the love I have for my family and friends. I don't like wrapping, but I like personally wrapped gifts, so I personally wrap many of my gifts. They aren't much to look at, but I wrapped them.
How often is it that the doing is the real act of love, not the thing given, but the thought that went into it and the act of giving itself? We enjoy the gift, but even more we relish that someone took the time to pick it, wrap it, and give it to us.
We still have a few of the gifts our 28-year-old son gave us over the years, but you know what they are as well as I do. There's a clay elephant head he made in art class. The body didn't survive. There's his watercolor picture of some holly. There's the little "Super Dad" statue that still sits on my computer and watches me as I write. It probably cost a dollar, and he probably had to save to buy it, but I've had it all these years.
Each year we talk about the true meaning of Christmas. But the true meaning of Christmas is different for different people. Not all of us are religious. The love which is supposed to be embodied, even in the secular season, doesn't come to all of us each year (Tens of thousands became unemployed just today!).
Still, we can practice little acts of love, small gifts of action which somehow overcome the depression of the Christmas season. May we all practice those small acts of love. And may my wife (She is a good wrapper) overlook my wrinkled wrapping and see the love behind it.
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