When we give a gift we generally spend a fair amount of time figuring out what we are going to put the gift in, how it’s going to be wrapped, and what do we need to put inside the box or bag to get the gift to its destination safely. All these things are done according to the occasion in which the gift is given (wedding gifts and birthday gifts are generally different), the relationship between the people sharing the gift (seven year olds giving gifts to each other is different than adults), and the message of the gift (gag gifts are different than sentimental ones). The gift itself and the container of the gift (how it is wrapped, delivered, etc.) all reflect the message or purpose of the gift.
When I think about gift giving I can’t help but think about myself and what I say I am when I say, “I am a Christian.” The reality is that you and I are containers of sorts. As people we contain all kinds of messages and mysteries; creative thoughts and inspirations; hopes and dreams and so on. As Christians we are also the container of a particular message, that is to say, the Gospel. As if that isn’t profound enough, we are not only the containers of a message, but the containers of a Person. Whether you like it or not, as a Christian, you are a container of the Holy Spirit. With that said, you are also the gift. As a container, you hold within you a Gift, to be shared with others. Yet, you, yourself, are a gift to be received by others and by God.
Here lies the question: do you take the time to let you (as the container) reflect or convey the kind of gift that you have/are? Does your exterior reflect the interior reality that you contain God within you? (What does your wrapping paper look like? Is the box the right size?) Is your interior a sufficient space to keep the gift that you have? (Is the gift really precious? Do you have enough packing peanuts?) The metaphorical reiterations may seem silly, but it gets the point across.
If we are going to say that we are Christians and that we believe we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and that we receive Jesus in Communion, we have got to be more aware of the intricate and all important reality of the union of body and soul. Simply put, our outsides reflect or insides, and our insides are made manifest by our outsides. So what does this mean for our outward postures, gestures, words, thoughts, and actions? Where do our actions lead us? Where do our thoughts lead us? What does this present to the world around us?