Associated Press CHICAGO — A Chicago man could be unwrapping the hundreds of Christmas gifts spread around his apartment for days, even weeks. Trouble is, they aren’t really presents. They’re his own belongings meticulously wrapped by friends as a prank while he was out of town. Louie Saunders’ packages contain everything from couch cushions to the beer in his refrigerator. His friend Adal Rifai masterminded the scheme after Saunders gave him a spare key. It took 16 people, 35 rolls of wrapping paper and eight hours to finish the job. Saunders tells the Chicago Sun-Times he’s only been able to unwrap about 10 percent of the packages. He said that the upside is that, with each package he unwraps, he finds something inside that’s just what he needs.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this story! First of all, I’ve always been the kind of guy who appreciates a good practical joke … not the mean-spirited, demeaning, kind that hurts the object of the joke … If it’s not funny for everyone involved then its just not funny. But this – this is funny! I also appreciate that 16 people cared enough to spend 8 hours pulling this off. It belies a strong bond of friendship in all involved.
Secondly, (and most pointedly) I love the attitude of the fellow at the center of it all. Mr. Saunders in his good grace teaches us all an important thing or two about contentment and thankfulness … finding in each new package something that is “just what he needs” This is at the heart of what God is trying to teach us in such commandments as Thou shalt not covet, and such prayers as Give us this day our daily bread.
The only exception I take with the article is when it says that the parcels are not presents, just his own belongings. They ARE gifts! Food, clothing, house, home, even jokers for friends are all wonderful presents from God! Would that we could all with Mr. Saunders come to view all our possessions in this new light. See this computer under my fingertips? A gift from God. That sandwich for lunch? Gift. These shoes … that clock … the beer in the fridge … the chair over there … all gifts from God! All new and wonderful and exciting – if we take the time to see them again for the first time.
God loves us enough to provide us with so much that we take for granted. Not just the big stuff like forgiveness, eternal life, and salvation in Jesus Christ (which we so gratefully unwrap each Christmas!), but the little things that often go overlooked in our day to day routines. If we spent more time unwrapping what we already have, instead of wishing for what we don’t, maybe we’d all be a little happier … more content … and whole lot more thankful!
So I propose two things. First, a brand new Christmas tradition. Wrap up something you already own. Something you are thankful for. Put it under the tree and when it comes time to open the presents use it to tell your loved ones what you have to be thankful for! Second, as we begin a new year, lets try to begin a new way of looking at “stuff” … with joy, surprise, and most of all – thankfulness. For then you will truly find something that’s just what you need!
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. [1 Timothy 6:6-8]