The beauty of significance lies in the fact that it is often hidden in the ugliness of the seemingly unimportant.
This was exactly the case on that first Christmas centuries ago. Who would have thought a little town would be the birthplace of a mighty king? Or that this mighty king would choose a lowly stable as his birthplace? Or those simple shepherds would be the first avenue for blasting the news? So much about Christmas is counter-intuitive. Ironic. Paradoxical. Odd. Initially seemingly unimportant. But actually, in the end, it was all eternally significant. Beautiful. Meaningful.
I suspect gifts are often that way as well. What we sometimes think is unimportant actually proves to be essential. I know this from experience, for as a Jr. Higher, when I really wanted the new handheld electronic football game for Christmas, what I got instead was an electric blanket. Seriously? That’s what I thought as a puberty-stricken middle schooler. Talk about disappointment.
I still remember it. Our entire family and extended family always congregated at my grandparents home in Tucker, GA, and hours of getting reacquainted, as well as grazing on Christmas goodies and gift-opening, was the reason. That year was no exception. You know, that year when the fad and craze for 14 year-olds was the multi-button, 6-light, handheld electric football game? Yeah, that year. When my turn rolled around, I was so sure I would open that big box and find that it was only extreme packaging to disguise the real treasure inside—that multi-button, 6-light, handheld electronic football game (which was an upgrade from the 4-light version the year before). I ripped that box open, eager as could be, only to discover that the box was actually not a disguise at all. Inside was something electric alright—an electric blanket. My first thought? I opened the wrong box. But no, that was my gift, in all of its weird wonder and mystery.
Yet, decades later, when that football game was a long-forgotten dinosaur, guess what was keeping my kids warm on a cold Iowa night? You got it—that seemingly unimportant electric blanket. In hindsight, that may have been one of the more beautiful gifts I’ve ever received.
Such is the case for things like humility, security, simplicity. They seem unattractive at first. Almost unnecessary. Unimportant. Yet, those are actually the small gifts that prove so vital eventually. Crucial. Yes, beautiful.
This Christmas, set your heart to discover the hidden beauty of seemingly small gifts, namely, the one who, as a baby, came to us in an almost unnoticeable fashion. For it’s the small things that make the largest difference, especially when his name is Jesus.