Marcella tugged on the wrapping paper of the last gift. It held fast, bound by the nasty double-stick tape that somebody used to wrap it. “The knife.” She pointed the words at Jake.
Her husband extended his right leg then slouched in his chair to retrieve the instrument from his jeans’ front pocket. “Here ya go,” he said, tossing it in her direction. She snapped it open with a single motion to slash the paper and slit open the top of the box.
Inside? A goldfish in a clear, plastic bag. Laughter everywhere. Even Marcella smiled. “Whaaat?”
“This goes with it,” said a voice from the other end of the room. Carol bowed with a pretentious flair and presented Marcella with a fish bowl, rocks, a plastic plant, and fish food.
With that, the white elephant gift exchange was over for another year. Everybody went home, crashed, and got up to spend another day that looked a lot like the one they just closed out.
Do you feel that way about Christmas? It was fun, but it’s over? Me too, sometimes. So I have to remind myself, it’s actually the beginning of the moment when Jesus becomes Emmanuel. He’s alive in a new way that I can begin to understand and relate to. “He’s come, He’s come, Emmanuel, to ransom captive Israel.”
When Marcella got home, she watched the goldfish swim around in its clear, plastic prison. “The knife,” she said, and Jake dutifully dug it out. She walked outside to the creek behind her house. She snapped the blade open with a single motion to slash the bag. And she set the goldfish free.
“…That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.” Jesus has come – the Truth that has set you free. Swim like it’s a new day.