The beautifully wrapped present beckoned to Billy from beneath his class’s Christmas Tree. It was the most beautiful gift he had ever seen, and he just knew that it contained the best Christmas present there ever was or ever could be.
Years ago when fifty cents could actually buy a nice little present, the students in Billy's class had a gift exchange, with fifty cents being the limit for what they could spend altogether, including the wrapping. The students brought their gifts to school and placed them under the small tree they had in their classroom.
Billy saw one gift with a bright red bow, flowing ribbons, and the most beautiful wrapping paper he had ever seen. Billy thought about the beautifully wrapped gift all the time. He had trouble concentrating on his schoolwork, and could hardly sleep at night he was so preoccupied with the beautiful present and when he did fall asleep he would dream about it and its mysterious treasure. He just had to have it.
Finally the day of the Christmas Gift Exchange, the last day of school before Christmas vacation, arrived. It took some plotting and planning, but Billy managed to get the beautifully wrapped present he had set his heart on. When school was dismissed he ran home eagerly, clutching his beautiful prize.
Billy couldn't wait for Christmas. As soon as he got home he tore off the bright red bow, ripped off the flowing ribbon, and shredded the beautiful paper. He eagerly opened the box and saw - a note. That was all. No toy car, or airplane, just a note. He took the note out of the box and read it.
"I'm sorry that I couldn't buy you a present, but the wrapping paper, bow, and ribbon cost fifty cents, so I didn't have any money left over for the present. I hope you have a Merry Christmas anyway."
There's nothing wrong with beautifully wrapped presents, or beautifully wrapped people. But we need to remember that it's what's inside that really counts.