1 Samuel 16:7, NIV:  “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

We purchase gifts excitedly. We think about the expressions on loved-one's faces as they open their presents. We pick the perfect paper, the perfect bow, wrap the presents and place them under the tree to await revealing. Finally the day arrives. The presents are handed out. The perfect paper is ripped off. The perfect bow is tossed aside. And the remainder of the gift’s container is quickly torn open to allow access to the contents inside. “Thank you,” you hear, “It’s just what I wanted.” In a similar way, we can present ourselves as gifts to God.  We say, “Here am I, dear Lord. I am yours. I am wrapped in so many things. Some things, I think, to make me more presentable. Some things just get in the way. Some things make it harder to get to what’s inside. But here I am. Merry Christmas Jesus.” May we look at others and ourselves as Jesus does--seeing beyond the wrappings to the wonderful things that are only found on the inside.