Originally posted December 15, 2015.
It seemed, to my ten-year-old mind, very reasonable. As I gazed longingly at the cheerful array of packages, all wrapped in decorative red and green paper, I wondered what treasures awaited me. I wasn’t quite sure Mommy had been altogether justified in commanding me to wait. And, after all, it was Christmas Eve, so what difference would it really make if I opened my presents early? I mean, they really were addressed to me!
So, I scooted over to the Christmas tree, and found a present addressed to me from one of the high school girls that volunteered at the school for “orthopedically handicapped” children that I attended. It was a flat package, leading me to conclude that it as a more grown-up gift. The prospect of a grown-up gift reinforced the idea that I was old enough to determine when to open Christmas gifts!
I ripped the paper eagerly, unveiling a framed, illustrated copy of the Girl Scout Laws (I had recently “flown up” from Brownies to Girl Scouts). I read:
The Girl Scout Laws
1. A Girl Scout’s Honor Is to be Trusted
2. A Girl Scout Is Loyal
3. A Girl Scout’s Duty Is to be Useful and to Help Others
4. A Girl Scout is a Friend to All, and a Sister to every other Girl Scout
5. A Girl Scout Is Courteous
6. A Girl Scout Is a Friend to Animals
7. A Girl Scout Obeys Orders
8. A Girl Scout is Cheerful
9. A Girl Scout is Thrifty
10. A Girl Scout is Clean in Thought, Word and Deed.
As I read, Mommy (who also happened to be the leader of my Girl Scout troop that year), entered the room, and the feelings of guilt started. She knelt beside me and said reprovingly, “You broke laws 1, 7 and 10.” Suddenly, the present my friend had given with the intention of affirming my good standing as a Girl Scout became my accuser. It reminded me, every time a looked at it, that I had been untrustworthy.
I don’t remember any more of the incident, but I learned never to open Christmas gifts early again. I never wanted my impatience to spoil another present.
So many of us are like I was as a ten-year-old. Feeling entitled to the things we want, we seize them instead of waiting for the Lord to bestow them in His time and His way. Premarital sex, of course, is the obvious example of opening a gift before the time, but I think there are hundreds of ways besides that to run ahead of the Lord. When I catch myself going ahead of Him, or thinking I have a better plan than His, I remember how it felt to open that Christmas present. Cheating isn’t worth it