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Unwrapped Too Soon, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    I couldn’t stand it any longer. The weird shaped box sat there under the tree. I had no idea what it was. I hadn’t asked for anything in that shape. I had shaken it, and it rattled! I had no clue what it could be.

    “What in the world is it?” I wondered.

    “Why don’t you find out!” I suggested to myself. I did!

    When everyone had gone to sleep, I slipped into the den and very gingerly undid the tape at one end of the gift. It took what seemed like ages to patiently pull at the tape so that it came off and didn’t rip the paper. My heart beat fast. Six pieces of tape gently coaxed from that wrapping paper. My fingers were trembling and sweaty. “At last!” The final corner was free. When I shined my pencil light on the end of the unwrapped package the secret was unveiled. In big white letters on a green background were the words, ELECTRONIC BASEBALL.

    “Mmmm? I wonder what I’m supposed to do now?” You see, I couldn’t play with it. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t even act like I knew about it. “How am I going to keep anyone else from knowing that I’ve opened my gift too soon?”

    What I thought would be a joyful revelation was a great letdown after the excitement of the moment had passed. I was learning the lesson of unwrapping a gift too soon. The need to cover up your shortcut covers up the joy of early discovery! The gift loses it luster and becomes a reminder of your deceit.

My gift was robbed of its joy.
    No one knew Christmas morning that I had already opened my gift. I faked my surprise and my joy. But I felt stupid and ashamed the whole time. My gift was robbed of its joy. In fact, deep down, it never really was a gift. It was something I stole. I never ever peaked early at another Christmas gift. The joy of knowing too soon wasn’t worth the loss of joy at receiving a special gift at the right time.

    As I work with couples in pre-marital counseling, I am thankful to find that more and more are committed to not unwrapping their gift too soon. Even if they have opened packages early in their past, they have learned their lesson at a profound level. Unwrapping this gift before marriage robs it of the joy of discovery found only when it is received at the right time. Those who do wait find that special joy that comes from giving and receiving this precious gift in its proper place and time.

    Those who have unwrapped their gift early in previous relationships, but have made a renewed commitment to wait in their current one, have consistently come back and told me later how powerful this waiting time was for their relationship. So much that needs to be discussed and shared gets set aside for powerful passions and the rush of lust. That special joy of anticipation and fulfillment gets lost when things are pressured and taken out of turn.

    Today, intimacy has dissolved into sex and love has become synonymous with lust. In a time like this, let’s be suitably guilty of the epithets of “naive” and “old fashioned.” Gifts are most cherished when they are received with joy and opened at the right time. There is great joy in learning and discovering the blessings of God’s gift together, at the right time and under the protection of a life commitment. To do less is to be robbed of all the gift is intended to bring. To teach our children to do less is to rob them of the joy found in waiting, then receiving this precious gift in God’s time, not their own.


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