This is what happens when I allow my husband to go into Wal-mart alone. He comes out with gifts. This photo here to the right is the latest one. He pulls it out of the bag, holds it up proudly and says, “You’ll wear this, right?”. Now, I like Duck Dynasty. I get a kick out of their shenanigans. I admire how they use their platform as an opportunity to share their faith. But wearing clothing with their faces on it? Well, that’s where I draw the line. I don’t even have a Chris Tomlin shirt for crying out sakes! (I am a HUGE Chris Tomlin fan, for those of you who don’t know me well!).
You see my husband is the biggest practical jokester of all time. And I am so on to him with this gift. If I say, “Sure! I’ll wear it,” he’s going to hold me to it. And the next time we go out to dinner, he’s going to pull it out of my closet and challenge me to wear it in public. If I say, “Well, I don’t really think so,” then he’s going to pretend I’ve hurt his feelings and get all pouty. Meanwhile he is laughing hysterically inside knowing he has backed me into a corner. The gig is up, but he won’t let me off the hook. He is going to drag it out to the bitter end. So, I cock my head to one side, study Phil Robertson’s face intently and ask, “Can I wear it to work?”. In case you were unaware, I manage my husband’s medical practice. So this question took him aback slightly. Then a huge grin spread across his face and he laughed and followed with, “well, I was thinking maybe for like pajamas or something”. Mmmmm-hmmm. NOW the gig’s up!
That shirt was supposed to be a tricky gift. He got the biggest kick out of watching me squirm until I figured out the correct response. We get lots of tricky gifts in life, like when my mother handed me a pair of capris out of her closet that were about 8 sizes too big for me and said, “Here you go, I think these might fit you”. Tricky. Or when the neighbor comes over with a platter of Christmas cookies 3 weeks before Christmas. Are you supposed to reciprocate? If you do, is it now “a thing” where you are expected to continue to exchange gifts year after year. Tricky.
The gift that Jesus offers is peace, joy, love, acceptance and forgiveness. And there’s nothing tricky about it. We like to make it tricky because we can’t wrap our minds around why someone would want to give us such an extravagant gift and ask for nothing in return other than belief that the gift is real enough to change us. We insist that there must be a catch. Something we are going to discover at the bottom of the box later that will disappoint us or make us feel duped. There’s not. It’s just a gift. Free. Simple. Yours.