Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Gift

Once upon a time there was a certain neighborhood. It was a tradition in this neighborhood for the citizens to exchange gifts during the year with one another. Being the good people that they were, they spent a lot of time preparing these gifts that they could exchange with one another.

Over the years, trends came and left. Sometimes it was in vogue to have really elaborate gifts, wrapped nicely. Other times it was fashionable to have the gifts personalized. It was a nice, quaint setting, similar to the old Andy Griffith show. However, things would not always stay that way.

One resident decided to have extra wide, sparkly ribbons one year. Oh, how nice his gifts looked. Then, all the other neighbors had to get extra wide sparkly ribbons for their gifts, too. You see, one did not want to be the only one to have non-wide and non-sparkly ribbons. Then, someone else came up with the idea of having complex and ornately detailed bows. Of course, it was not long before everyone else was doing the same thing. This trend continued, with flowing, scripted cards, shaped, specialized packaging, and ornate, detailed levels of wrapping paper, one inside the other. Eventually someone even electrified their gift with batteries. Small blinking lights and little music players soon adorned each gift.

The stress for preparing the gifts had begun to increase, exponentially. No one wanted to be seen as giving a less impressive gift than their neighbors. All trends were scrutinized and carefully evaluated so as to have the greatest impact of being a "good" gift.

The time for gift giving arrived, and the neighbors with love and affection traded their gifts with one another, glancing comparatively at the packages they had each prepared. When the gifts were opened, however, the boxes were found to be empty. With sadness they realized that all their effort had been spent trying to make their gift look good, and no time had been left over to actually prepare the gift that they were supposed to give. They had missed the purpose of the gift entirely.

armchair coach
amateur historian


John M. Bowling said...

I agree, a lot of people have forgot the true meaning of Christmas . God's gift to us , Jesus . Great post !
God Bless,

John M. Bowling

Glenn Houtchens said...

Actually, John, the article is not intended to be about Christmas. I suppose it can be applicable to anywhere in life where we become short sighted and desiring of the praise of men. Thanks for your comment =)

Anonymous said...

The seed of disappointment was planted in this village. No longer will a cardboard box suffice to fulfill the expectancy of the elaborate delivery of a gift.

The world isn't cheap. Welcome to the 21st century Mr. Houtchens.

-Brian Cann
Ex-Student of Mr. Houtchens

Glenn Houtchens said...

Thanks for your comment, Brian. It actually illustrates the point I was trying to make. If "the world" is going to be a cheap gold digger that is more concerned with appearances than the actual gift that was given, it makes me glad I am not a part of this world.

That the appearance of things should be the emphasis, I disagree with. It's why I never bothered with getting a master's or a doctorate. I'm not interested in money, prestige or power.

Here is my message to the world: If you turn down the cardboard box, you might miss out on the true blessing that was inside, because it didn't "look good enough."

Hope you enjoy your education, Brian, and once again, thanks for posting.