Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once. ~Audrey Hepburn
I don’t know how it started. No one does. But many years ago, probably 25 now, a Christmas package wrapped in a tin was offered to someone at the family Christmas celebration.
The box was a used candy tin from some of my father-in-law’s Chinese students. Whether the candy was tasty is long forgotten, even what was given in the tin that first year is not remembered.
But the tin . . . We remember.
You see every year, the tin is filled with a new present and given to someone else in the family. Everyone waits expectantly to see who will receive the “White Rabbit” gift that year.
It isn’t a large tin; the present will be something small . . . a gift card, a notebook for your purse, a pair of underwear. Really the present isn’t what we care about. It’s all about getting the White Rabbit tin.
There was a lull in White Rabbit giving for several years. We noticed its absence, but we didn’t know what had happened to it. Had we given the tin to someone out of the family by mistake? Had it been inadvertently thrown away or sent to a thrift store? Like Alice’s White Rabbit, it seemed to be gone.
Then, after many years, it reappeared.
My sister-in-law, new to the family tradition, had not known its importance. We failed to tell her of its significance. She received the tin, but never passed it on. Finally, by sheer luck, she placed a gift in it one Christmas.
There was great rejoicing in the house. The White Rabbit tin was back. Again we have no idea what the present was; but we remember and rejoice at its presence. Like a long lost friend, the tin reminds us of Christmases past.
Josiah was a child when he became king of Israel. After reigning for 18 years he sent to the temple to make repairs. The priest passed on a book he had found by chance.
It was the Book of the Law.
Josiah read the book and mourned that its contents had been forgotten and ignored. He spent the rest of his days trying to bring Israel into a right relationship with God.
Someone, somewhere, had put the Book of the Law aside. They didn’t know its importance, or the great present that it held inside. For many years it sat unopened, like a White Rabbit tin that was misunderstood.
God told Josiah that the Israelites would still suffer because of their faithlessness, but Josiah tried to make it right anyway. He wouldn’t let the present be forgotten again.
You, too, have an opportunity to open a long-forgotten present: The Bible. It’s not an old family tradition of forgettable presents in an unexceptional tin. Neither is it a book of laws condemning us to suffering and shame.
It’s a new present, filled with the Love of God. It brings joy, excitement, peace, and comfort every time it’s opened.
Don’t ever forget what’s inside.
And don’t ever stop giving it to others.
Shaphan read it, then went back to Josiah and reported, “Your officials collected the money in the temple and gave it to the men supervising the repairs. But there’s something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it out loud.
When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God’s Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, and his own servant Asaiah. He said, “The Lord must be furious with me and everyone else in Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go find out what the Lord wants us to do.” 2 Kings 22:9-13 CEV