Midway through a cold Pennsylvania December many years ago, our Christmas tree was up. Packages from my parents were beautifully displayed underneath the fragrant boughs. After a fair amount of shaking and feeling, poking and prodding, I felt I had figured out the contents of most of the gifts. However, my curiosity was piqued with two identically shaped rectangle boxes and similarly weighted boxes. The one with my name on it was a bit larger than the one for my sister, but they were otherwise indistinguishable. With every chance available, I went to the tree and eyed those two boxes.
My inquisitive nature enveloped me. I was absolutely confident the boxes didn't contain clothes or toys, but couldn't imagine what was concealed beneath the colorful paper and ribbons. I drew my sister’s attention to the dilemma, but being three years younger, she was absolutely no help. Finally, I made the decision to peek, something I'd never even considered before the advent of the two mysterious boxes.
I waited patiently to put my plan of action to work until my parents backed the car out of the long, snow-covered driveway one afternoon just before Christmas. I quickly ran to the kitchen for a small knife and a roll of Scotch tape. With my sister playing in another room, I sat down under the colorfully decorated tree. I was breathless. This was a foreign and dangerous mission, and if Mom and Dad came home before the operation was accomplished, I knew I'd never see another Christmas gift for the rest of my natural life.
Taking a deep breath, I picked up the package with my name on it. Carefully, I slit the tape on one end, being most careful not to tear the wrapping paper. Slowly, I unfolded it to discover the contents. Much to my horror, there in bold letters were the words HOLY BIBLE. I gulped. My face felt hot while a cold shiver ran down my back. I felt my heart would stop. I knew, just as well as I knew my name that God was looking down at me and definitely not approving of my mischief. Quickly and deftly, I placed identically sized pieces of tape over the ones I had slit and placed the package back under the tree before returning the evidence of my crime, the knife and tape, to the kitchen.
My mind was in turmoil. This was just between God and me. My parents returned a bit later, but I tried to steer clear of them. I was positive my horrid deed would be written all over my face. I prayed for forgiveness and promised to never peek again. Still, my conscience was not clear. With a heavy heart, I tossed and turned in bed that night.
When Christmas Eve arrived that year, my sister was surprised with her Bible. As for me, I somehow feigned surprise when I opened that rectangle box containing a red leather Bible that bore my name engraved in gold. I still have the Bible. It never fails to remind me of my snooping that day long ago. However, I learned my lesson well, and to this day, no matter how curious I might be regarding the shape, size or weight of a particular gift, I do not peek…anymore.