On display this week at the Temple of Tackiness down the street:
LIFE IS A GIFT
UNWRAP YOUR PRESENT
No re-gifting, now!
Can I really find any fault with this greeting-card sentiment from the Church of the Lighted Sign? Not as far as what it says goes. What it doesn't say, however, is much more significant. Missing is any specific reference to the incarnation of God's Word. Missing is the once-given and eternally precious gift of Christ, born in Bethlehem to bear the sins of the world. Missing is any meaningful reference to the Christian message, doctrine that increasingly seems to be a thing of the past, at least for some churches. Missing is any indication of our future hope, which is the outcome of that message.
"Life is a Gift" is a message without a message, focused firmly on the present, on what is in man to do, on what is in our world to experience. It can hardly even be taken seriously as a confession of the preciousness of human life, given that the church body behind this sign doesn't support such a confession in its interface with secular politics. So the message from this sign must be interpreted as nothing more than a clever, pun-driven, warm-and-fuzzy way of saying Carpe diem. It's all in the now. It's all about how you feel. Keep the gift receipt. Re-use the ribbon.