My 10 year old self would be embarrassed. I once loved wrapping gifts, the bows were the most important part of course. I am sure this was due to the care and pride my mother took in topping our packages with handmade bows and curly ribbons. I have a memory (faint now due to time) of actually trying to make my bows look like ribbon candy. The paper itself was usually carefully picked out to reflect a theme of choice. Boxes were procured to ensure items could be wrapped neatly…and the tape, lets discuss the TAPE. Commercials for scotch tape glorified the attributes of “invisible tape”. They even showed one package with its obviously taped sides compared to the “invisible tape” version which looked as if held together by magic. Any self-respecting wrapper would choose the “invisible tape”.
This weekend I began my wrapping of gifts which will be sent to family far away. I long ago gave up on crafting pretty bows. These gifts will be crammed into a box for shipping and the days of trying to ship them with protected fluffy bows has past. My youthful exuberance for neatly wrapped gifts has given way to “eh, that’s good enough” efforts of covering the item. Sadly, I apparently do not feel compelled to find a perfect box, some things are simply swaddled in gobs of tissue or paper. As I picked up my tape dispenser (shockingly left over from last season), I noticed it was the afore mentioned “invisible” kind. Funny, my focus on how my gifts get wrapped has certainly changed, and yet still HOW they are held together stays the same…perhaps just an example of good marketing on the part of the tape maker, maybe just purchase habits engrained over the years…honestly, when you see my wrapping that fact it is even held together is remarkable, let alone the need for it to be invisible.
As I turned one of my packages over in my hand, surveying my less than stellar work, I thought of how much it was a reflection of the wrapper herself. My effort for perfect appearances, attention to detail and a carefully curated life have given way to simply holding on for dear life and trying not to make too big of a mess of things. But I KNOW what holds me together, my HOPE in Christ Jesus. Like that invisible tape, it is unseen and yet still certain.
“For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? Romans 8:24”
No matter how wonderful, lovely, good, difficult, uncertain, or scary life may be…Jesus is our HOPE. Hope will not be found in financial stability, a spouse, a career, things of this world…these things are limited. True hope is found in trusting God even when circumstances are difficult.
This week of advent we focus on our HOPE in Christ Jesus. This week if you too see messy packages with hastily tied or tangled ribbons, let them remind us….life is messy, we are all a mess, but God loves us no matter our mess. God sent his Son, Jesus, to gather our brokenness, forgive us, heal us, and to give us a HOPE for salvation.