Every day in Advent 2016 we will be sharing short reflections from authors, Christian charities and Eden team members.
Recently there has been a rather strange phenomenon that has grown to amassing billions (yes, billions) of views on YouTube. It’s not concerned with pop-stars, viral trends, absurd challenges, or even videos of cats (sadly). It’s called the ‘Un-boxing Video’.
All that happens in the video is someone - often you won’t see any more of them than a single pair of hands - will open up a new toy. That’s it.
There's no hype, no effects, absolutely nothing spectacular.
They are videos of people literally unboxing a toy and examining it, and a single video of this can gain as many 200,000,000 views on YouTube.*
I’m sure you’re thinking the exact same question I was thinking when I heard about this:
Everyone gets excited opening presents, but is watching a video really the same kind of excitement as opening up your very own gift? For millions of people, unboxing videos are highly addictive, and are telling of the tingling anticipation of seeing a thing revealed. For that briefest moment before the packaging is opened, anything is possible.
Now, it’s pretty safe to say we have grown into a culture of looking forward. In cinemas sequels make up the majority of the top grossing films of 2016, and in the news cycles this year the feverous anticipation of both the Brexit Vote and the US Presidential election whipped people into an exhausting frenzy of wondering what is to come. Everything now is about what’s ahead.
Expectation was also a running theme throughout the Nativity, and before.
Jesus was the most expected figure to have ever been born. His coming was prophesied, his presence was needed, and his life was necessary for a new way of following God. For hundreds of year Jesus was the awaited promise. The hope to come.
When Joseph had planned to quietly divorce Mary after discovering her pregnancy, an Angel came and told him of the immense hope that rested on this very moment in his life:
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21, NIV)
And with this birth, this life, and this death a new kind of hope is born. A radically different hope that doesn’t look forward to a coming rescue or promise, but is a hope that can be received this very second, without delay. A hope without waiting.
An impatient hope.
That’s the good news of the Nativity - we don’t need to look forward to have hope anymore. There isn’t any need for an unboxing hope which relies on not knowing what it is you’ll receive and on looking ahead.
Faith in Jesus brings an impatient hope, not one that looks forward to what is to come, but that hope which receives now the promise made of Jesus’ birth.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything to look ahead to, but on Christmas morning, as millions of Children’s eyes will widen at mound of mysterious presents at their feet, take some time to think of the one gift you didn’t have to wait for, that didn’t need unwrapping or unboxing, but was given to you freely and immediately.
Your very own impatient hope.
*Just to give you an inclination of what that amounts to in time spent, an average unboxing video runs somewhere between 7-10 minutes. If we were to multiply 200,000,000 views by an average time of 8.5 minutes, that comes to 1,700,000,000 minutes. That’s over 3234 years of collective view time. Back to back, that is enough to have started playing 1,000 years before Jesus’ birth and still not have finished by the time you read this sentence.
Aaron Lewendon is part of the team at Eden. He has one wife, two cats, and can often be found with a book in his hands (sometimes whilst walking).
This is his second reflection.
He does not watch Unboxing videos.
December 20th, 2016 - Posted & Written by The Editor