I know a lot of people who hate wrapping Christmas presents. They even pay someone to wrap their gifts for them so they don't have to do it. Many times, to make things easy, we stick our gifts in a bag with some tissue paper. Personally, I enjoy wrapping gifts. I'm not the world's best wrapper, but I do okay. But whether you love it or dread it, wrapping gifts is essential. I can't imagine handing someone an unwrapped gift, can you? And if we put unwrapped gifts under the tree, that would take away the mystery...the anticipation...the surprise.
I had the honor of co-writing my church's very large Christmas production this year (with friend and fellow blogger, Diane Loew). About 12,000 people came over the course of 4 presentations to watch How Christmas Saved the Grinch. Hundreds turned their hearts and lives to Christ. This morning, I even received a message from an old high school friend, who told me about her friend and her friend's daughter, who had turned away from the church for a while. They were invited to come to the Grinch production and, as a result, renewed their relationship with Jesus and are planning on coming to our Christmas service and are excited about getting back to church! Could there be anything cooler?
Many said the show rivaled Civic Theater productions, and for me, it really was an incredible experience! How Christmas Saved the Grinch was my first attempt at script writing and I enjoyed every moment of the process. We put a spin on the classic Grinch tale, using bits and pieces from the Jim Carey movie version, but most of the dialogue was original. And, of course, it included a Christ-centered message. It was awesome to see how God brought everyone together to make this production come alive. From the lead director, whose vision for this production started two years ago, to the assistant directors, to the choreographers, to the dancers, actors, set designers, costume creators, makeup artists, and sound and video team...we couldn't have done it without any single one of them.
One of my favorite scenes is towards the end, where Cindy Lou is talking to the Grinch about the true meaning of Christmas (photo above). The Grinch thinks the only reason the Whos are celebrating Christmas is because of the gifts. Cindy Lou explains that Jesus is the only gift they need. Here is a portion of the dialogue:
CINDY: Mr. Grinch, God loves us so much he wanted to give the world an extra special gift. A lot more special than a new bike or a talking doll. His gift forgives us of our sins. His gift helps us to love each and every Who. Most of all, this gift is the only way for us to live forever in heaven with God. Do you know what this gift is? It is God’s only son, Jesus.When we think of wrapping presents, we think of red, green, or gold metallic paper. Or maybe bells or snowmen or Santas or reindeer print. We think of curly ribbon or shiny bows, Scotch tape and scissors.
GRINCH: I thought gifts only come wrapped with a bow. What are you saying, Cindy Lou?
CINDY: You see, a long time ago, God picked a girl named Mary to have a baby. Mary and her husband Joseph traveled a long way to the little town of Bethlehem. As they entered the city, it was time for the baby to be born and the only place they had to stay was a stable. And on that very first Christmas night, Baby Jesus was born. The shepherds were watching their sheep at night and an angel came to them and said, “For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior. He is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
GRINCH: So this gift was wrapped (said gently with smile).
But, if you read the Christmas story in Luke, you'll notice that material gifts aren't the only ones that come wrapped. The gift God gave us all those years ago -- the very first Christmas present ever handed out -- was wrapped, too. But instead of fancy packaging, this gift was wrapped in simple swaddling clothes.
Could there be a more beautifully wrapped gift? And, more importantly, will you receive it?