This poem has been published in Unwrapping His Presence: What We Really Need for Christmas and a slow and sudden God: 40 years of wonder.
the paper protected the present.
it also presented the gift
as something it wasn’t.
a cover, a mask.
though lovely and friendly,
the imagery lies about reality.
paper, protecting and promoting
a fictional fix,
cast in a mix of amazement,
does its task of deception.
is it something i want,
or something i wait for?
is it someone i am,
or someone i long to become?
don’t the gifts give way
on a holiday?
aren’t they torn opened to trash
the covers aside?
they are because
what is inside matters.
what paper protects our presence?
why do i pretend,
presenting me as someone i’m not?
i must remove the colors, images.
i must rip my cover, my mask.
i’ll give the Worker the task of tearing,
opening, trashing that old me away,
and convincing me this christmas:
what is inside is what matters.