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. 

colors, images. 

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.