Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Joy of Wrapping Paper

It was a Sunday close to Christmas Day and our pastor asked people to share their favourite memories of childhood Christmases.
A friend of mine, Jeannie, stood up and went to the mike.

Her eyes sparkling and her voice animated, she told of her childhood joy at Christmas.

Jeannie grew up in a poor family, that lived gypsy-style. Her father did not believe in education and refused to send his children to school so the family moved often to keep the authorities from catching up with them. My friend never set foot into a schoolroom until she walked through a classroom door with her own child by the hand.

Her home was not a Christian home and she had few of the things most children take for granted.
There were no Christmas traditions .... no special dinner .... no extended friends.... and there were no gifts waiting for her or her siblings on Christmas mornings.

But…. she found her own Christmas joy.

Every year, Jeannie, would eagerly wait until after Christmas when everyone put out their garbage including the wrapping paper all their gifts had been wrapped in. Then my friend would sneak unnoticed out to the garbage cans and collect all the discarded Christmas paper and sometimes even pretty ribbon!

The beautiful designs and finishes … the colours , the shine, the gold and silver accents…delighted her and she would spend hours smoothing out the paper, cutting and folding making little shapes and cut outs and paper designs… teaching her creative ideas to her siblings.

I had the bitter/sweet feeling that the throw-away paper brought her more joy than the gifts brought to the ones who thoughtlessly tore off the paper wrapping them.

Those who have an abundance often miss out on the joy that simple things can bring.
This Christmas….. will you have time to notice and enjoy the simple things?
A single ornament.... loved ones around the table.... the wide-eyed joy of a child.... a favourite carol….. a walk in the snow…..the voice of a loved one..... a Christmas card....a nativity scene …..stars in the night sky ..... the familiar words of the Christmas story....

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy." (Mat 2:10)


jrmom said...

What a great story. I couldn't agree with you more about taking the time to stop and take notice of all of our blessings. Merry Christmas!

Trish said...

You are right...those who 'have' know not about the sweetness of desire...those who haven't had to 'search for joy' cannot see it when it is freely given. Those who 'need not' are perhaps the most needy.

betty r said...

The simple joys of Christmas..that is my prayer!
Thanks for sharing this story, Julie.

Lovella said...

OH yes. . I certainly will enjoy all those moments. . .the older I get the less the things in the wrapping paper mean to me. . .it's all about the simple joys.

Vicki said...

Beautiful, Julie!

(By the way, reports are that my daughter is "blossoming" and that my little grandson is super-active!)

Demara said...

I think that is why this christmas may just be the best ever! We are not having any fancy wrapping paper, or even a tree with ornaments.

We simply have parties with friends and grandparents. Our Christmas is shared with people, nothing more nothing less!

I like the simple things in life, because then it's easier to remember what's most important.

Anonymous said...

Hello Julie,

I know this is rather an old post. But thoroughly enjoyed the story and lesson behind it.

It's really true, being raised in a low income family myself, and many times going through struggles just to get the basics. You do really feel a sense of STRONG gratitude when receiving something/anything really. Now that I have so much. I see myself, sometimes, not having that same feeling as before.

I think we have to purposely deprive ourselves sometimes. As to keep that feeling alive, and realize our blessings.

Nice post.

Kind regards.