Pastor Kent Simmons

When I was a child, my parents often hid my Christmas presents until they could wrap them and placed them under the tree. What they didn’t know is that I was on a mission to find them. Usually, one of the closets held the treasures and I celebrated my findings. The secret was out. All I had to do going forward was to deliver an academy award performance of surprise and delight on Christmas morning which I did. Norman Rockwell probably captured such a scene in one of his works.

This got me to thinking. What do I hide? What do I hope that no one will ever discover about me? Where are the closets that reveal my unfiltered self?  And is there anyone looking?

Who we are apart from our outward appearance is, at a minimum, a mystery and at worst, a deep-seated hypocrisy. If you are like me, you don’t want the world to know who you are, or to find you, or to see you, in private.

I am not suggesting that I hold some psychopathic or narcissistic predisposition that is at the ready to harm, only that I am often not proud of what I hide from others—whether feelings or actions.

How about you? Whether you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ or are convinced that a secular lifestyle is sufficient for happiness, are you proud of your private life and thoughts? What do you hide from others? And have you thought of why you hide these?

The hope of any person is consistency, I believe. We want to be the same person whether in public or in private. If that is generally you, consider yourself blessed. However, if you find yourself in the camp of a multitude of other people that wrestle with duplicity, movement toward authenticity is possible, if not necessary. After all, if you know there is discord or dissonance between you and the real you, it seems self-evident that the status quo will not satisfy the problem.

What is likely true, as well, is that what is hidden will be revealed. This is a scary proposition, too. Think of all the prominent people of the past who have had their lives revealed postmortem. Consider for a moment a father, mother, sister, brother, who passes and suddenly a dearth of information points to a hidden life that no one knew. Try as we might, we will be known in full.

But perhaps you’ve covered your tracks. Delete, delete, delete, is your motto. Okay, it’s possible. But if there is a personal God, it seems more than likely that, while you’ve hidden your life on earth, you will not be able to do so heavenward.

There is a biblical quote that seems a truism, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

This Christmas I hope you enjoy your presents even if you know what they are—even if they were hidden in advance whether in closets or wrapped in festive paper. But remember, too, that your hidden nature, the things you want to be private, may one day be known.

Isn’t it better to live transparently, flaws and all, than to try to hide? Loving people will support you and applaud you if given a chance. What better gift to give at Christmas than an authentic you? And you don’t have to hide it!

Kent Simmons is the pastor of Canyon Community Church in Kingman, AZ.