We all love to look at presents all wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with a fancy bow.
We all love to get presents, too: the mystery of what may be inside, the knowing that someone thought enough of you to spend their time and money to bless you.
Giving gifts is equally enjoyable and sometimes more so: the anticipation of someone opening a gift, watching their reaction, seeing the joy on their faces and knowing that you hit a home run with your gift.
Gifts are meant to be opened, not kept wrapped up collecting dust. It is fun to see them at Christmas as they sit under the tree, tantalizing us with visions of what might be wrapped up in their pretty paper. But what if Christmas came and went and they never got opened?
The thoughtfulness of the giver would go unnoticed and unappreciated, and the pleasure we anticipated from the gift would never be realized.
A legend has been told of a woman who had a dream. In her dream she found herself in heaven. The beauty around her was greater than anyone had described to her, greater than anything she had ever imagined. The colors were so vibrant, the air so invigorating. She felt so alive—and yet those on earth were mourning her death.
It was curious. Jesus had met her and escorted her into the golden city. Standing at her side, He showed her all the sights of heaven.
"I can't wait to show you your mansion," He said. "I have been building it now for such a long time."
Room by room, she marveled at the individual, personal touches. Each room was the perfect color and design. Then Jesus took her to a room, and as He opened the door, she viewed hundreds of beautifully wrapped gifts lining the wall, stacked from the floor to the ceiling.
"What are all of these gifts?" she asked in wonder.
"These are the gifts I gave you while you lived on Earth," He replied. "I knew things would not be perfect for you. In fact, I knew there would be times of intense pain and hardship. I knew there would be times when you would struggle to the point of despair, and so I decided to supply you with just the right gifts to help you through the hard times."
"But these gifts are still wrapped up? Why?" she inquired
"Well, let's open each one," He said. "I think you will begin to understand. Let's start with the blue one."
As the woman opened the gift, she found a cozy, warm comforter tucked inside. She picked it up and wrapped it around her, snuggling under its warmth. Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with such a wonderful feeling of peace and well-being.
"Oh, Jesus! I just love it! she exclaimed. "It makes me feel so warm and comforted, so peaceful. Oh, but I sure could have used something like this when I went through my time of great loss," she added, looking sad.
"That is precisely when I gave it to you," he replied, smiling.
"I don't remember you ever giving me this," she replied. "I'm sure I would have remembered."
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