Unopened Gifts


     When you have a child with autism, we have found in our family, that the changes in daily routines and schedules can really throw a kink in things. Christmas is usually the most stressful for my twenty-five year old son, Ben.  Knowing this, I do my best to explain and guide him through the high paced holiday season.  Never knowing what his reactions will be from one year to the next tends to leave me a bit on edge.  The Christmas of 2012 found me faced with a situation I had never dealt with before. 
     On Christmas morning, Ben refused to open his gifts. Under the tree were the Thomas the Tank Engine videos he had repeatedly requested and the dog that when squeezed would shine stars on the ceiling along with other presents. He watched his sister, Miriam, open her gifts.  He observed the joy she was experiencing, but he was unmoved. We knew it would be best to leave him alone. We could not force happiness on him.  Years of experience had taught us to give him space.
     Four days would pass before Ben decided to open his packages. I don’t know why he waited or why he decided to finally come around.  Autism has no rhyme or reason. And then I realized sometimes neither do we. As I looked at the unopened gifts under the tree day after day, I was reminded of the gift or gifts that God has given to each of us, His children. Gifts that due to fear or lack of motivation remain untouched in our lives.  Makes about as much sense as Ben refusing to reveal and enjoy what he had been given, withholding its use from the world around us.
     Allow me to share with you a quote from Max Lucado’s book Cure for the Common Life. “You are heaven’s Halley’s comet; we have one shot at seeing you shine. You offer a gift to society that no one else brings.  If you don’t bring it, it won’t be brought.” That gift has been bestowed upon you by God Himself for the purpose of bringing Him glory.
     So what are you waiting for?  Go open that gift you “left under the tree.”  See the joy it will bring to yourself and to those around you. God prepared that gift especially for you.  Enjoy it, use it, share it!  To God Be the Glory!

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