December 22, 2017

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Ever wonder what wrapping presents has to do with God’s gifts to us?

Debra TomaselliIn this season of Christmas, there is a lot of wrapping of presents going on. Do you wonder how the tradition began? Why do we wrap presents? Why not just give them unwrapped?

I do, so I researched it. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, in an online post dated Dec. 9, 2013, says: “The desire to hide the identity of the gift until just the right moment led people to wrap gifts long, long ago.”

How about that?

We began concealing the identity of a present ages ago. Why? Because we’re looking for “just the right moment” to reveal the gift.

Makes sense, right?

After all, I’ve received gifts and waited to open them until the “real” date. Or, I’ve waited to open them until the giver is present to share in the joy. Or, I’ve waited to open it until I have time to savor it.

I never thought about it, but, yes, we wait to open gifts at “just the right moment.”

It reminds me of a particular scene from my childhood.

“Have a seat on the sofa,” my mother said. “We have a surprise for you!”

What?A surprise? I couldn’t imagine what it was, but surprises were always good. I raced to the couch, sat down, and turned my smiling, freckled face her way.

“Close your eyes,” she said. ”I’ll be right back.”

I squeezed them shut.

Moments later, I heard my parents shuffling something through the room, stopping at my feet.

“OK,” they said. “You can open your eyes now!”

Delight filled me as I saw the present set before me. It was wrapped in colorful paper, which I immediately removed.

Underneath was a big grey case. I flipped the latches open, first one … then the other. I gasped with delight when I spotted the full-sized accordion, marble-gray with stunning ivory keys.

What? I’d wanted this forever! At least as long as I’d been taking accordion lessons.

“I love it!” I said. “Thank you!”

My parents helped me take it out of the case and adjust the straps to fit my small frame. Moments later, I played a simple rendition of “Silent Night.”

Initially, when I started lessons, my parents rented an accordion, waiting to see. Would I practice weekly? Would the novelty wear off? Would I still want an accordion months later?

I didn’t tire of the lessons. I enjoyed music. I loved practicing.

So, when the time was right—and undoubtedly, the right deal came along—my parents, delight dancing in their eyes, gifted me with my own accordion … unexpected and unforeseen by me … at just the right moment.

Don’t you imagine this is how God helps us? He’s beaming, knowing he’s got great gifts for us—wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, to name a few.

Although unexpected and unforeseen by us, we have what we need before we even need it.

His holy gifts are hidden in the ordinariness of our lives, waiting for just the right moment to arise. And he knows the place … and he knows the time.

You can trust him. Our surprises are always good.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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