I. Hate. Moving.
(No we aren't moving if that's what you thought!)
But the process of packing and unpacking.
My parents rented their houses all through my high school years, and for about a five year span of time, I had moved around 13 times. Granted, part of that process was because I was moving to and from college four times a year.
But regardless- I was so sick of moving that by the time Paco and I bought our own house, I had no desire to pack our things and move in! Thankfully, we managed, and I now dread the thought of moving - later- if ever- to any other location- be it local or afar- because of the packing and unpacking.
But I guess I'm a small portion of the globe.
There's a new phenomenon sweeping across all seven continents. I don't know if you've heard or have seen the footage, but it seems too juvenile to be true. And yet, it has taken the news by force. Go ahead and Google search "unboxing".
It's the latest trend in youtube creators and viewers' repertoires.
At first I thought it was just for kids. But after doing about thirty seconds of research, I found out it's a much less segregated-by-age audience. Adults alike are engulfed in the trend.
If you have preschool aged kids you've probably seen at least one, if not fifty, of these little segments.
If not- I'll catch you up to speed:
Running about 6-8 minutes in length, anonymous "film makers" record their hands opening an array of toys. Usually they're encased in plastic Easter egg shells, or wrappers of some kind. The few minutes is spent unearthing each one, one at a time, while the anonymous person narrates what he/she is doing. You only ever see their hands. You only hear their voice. You wouldn't believe the popularity.
For kids, it's small trinket-like junk toys. The small ones that come out of gum-ball machines. Or stickers. Or candies. And they're usually stuffed in an egg or other opaque vessels, and sometimes wrapped in another layer of foil or paper, which adds to the "suspense" of the opening.
It's not just for toys either.
It's a trend among adults: Youtube creators will "unbox" blenders, iPhones, yoga equipment, game consoles...anything that comes in multi-layered packaging.
It's absurd. But it's reality.
People young and old alike, from every continent on the planet, are enthralled with these types of videos.
As a parent, I took notice, because my 2 y/o could find these types of videos easily- without help- when using the iPad.
We would "search" for something familiar, for him, like "mickey mouse" or "bubble guppies", and within minutes, wesley could find his way over to one of these videos. The one that's his favorite creeps me out a bit. It's a grown man, with a lisp, and bandages all over his hands. He tells the kids of how he is an "engineer" and loves candy. If I met a person face-to-face who offered those descriptions I would be freaked out. And here my kids sit, glued to his "unboxing" of junk toys.
What is so awesome about these videos?
At first I thought, "oh something else is going on here!" And started watching myself to make sure there weren't "innuendos" or "inappropriate" moments scattered throughout the segment.
Rest easy- I didn't find any of that.
But as a parent I want to know, and I understand that it's my responsibility, to know exactly what my kids are watching and exposing themselves too.
And also it may or may not have been because the "entrepreneur" in me thought, certainly there's a better way to make money!
So I started researching.
Google is a very helpful tool for us as parents. I'm not suggesting every source online is valid or reliable. But it's a great resource to have so easily available when in doubt.
Apparently, people young and old are obsessed because of the reality these videos offer, The simplicity of what's happening, And the mystery beneath the casing.
Let's break this down.
The reality of what's offered :
We live in a commercialized and target-market society. Everything is pushed at us with an agenda. You can't buy vegetables or dental floss without being bombarded by ethos, pathos, and logos in an ad. And these ads paint glitter and rainbows over every product. What we see is always a mirage. We've all seen the commercials for the "ab belt" or the "snuggie". They market the ridiculous with such finesse that we can't help but want to call the 1-800 number. Things we never knew we needed are all of a sudden, rolled in magical unicorn dust and we want them.
These "unboxing" videos give people a realistic view of what to expect beneath the packaging. They remove the wrappers and boxes and reveal the truth of what's lying inside. The products are either better than you thought, or mostly just a hard reality of what is. Either way, it's fact that people watch these videos by the hundreds of thousands to see the reality behind the glamour of pretty paper and fluff of cardboard and plastic.
The simplicity of what's being shown:
We are bombarded by 1,000 things at once each and every moment of every day. It's why smart phones are such a hit. Because you can read your texts while playing candy crush and check your email all at the same time as making dinner and watching the news.
The news channel isn't even simple.
The five day forecast is displayed in the top left corner, while the anchors narrate, the box playing photos or videos near their face shows what they're describing, and a ticker feed simultaneously scrolls beneath the headlines.
There's something- research says- about one thing at a time - that our brains crave.
The simplicity of these videos offers a rest for our constantly running minds to focus and take in all that's happening around us. That's one of the main reasons toddlers like my son are so enthralled. And I believe it carries over to the adult audience as well. The simple focus of opening a single egg or toy at one time, slowly, is nearly entrancing. Like a hypnosis method of sorts, our eyes fixate and our minds let go of the need to process kajillions of pieces of information all at once. Our bodies were designed for simple. And we've overloaded them with technology and gadgets to seem as though we are "increasing productivity" but we are actually overworking our brains and mental capacities far beyond exhaustion.
The mystery of what's revealed:
Everybody loves presents. We love birthdays. We love Christmas. If you hate opening presents- you're lying to yourself and everyone else. Opening a gift is fantastic. It makes everybody - whether you're the one opening or not- feel good. It's why at kids birthday parties, parents have to constantly remind their kids to "Sit down" or "scoot back". Because every kid at that party is crowding the "opener" as they tear through packaging and wrapping paper. If you've ever been to a Christmas celebration where you have to "wait your turn" to open a present, you know it's boring. Because everyone enjoys the mystery of tearing apart and opening their own gift. Sure you may or may not be disappointed once the paper is off- but up until that point, your face is smiling. We've all learned to suppress that urge to tear through the packaging- calling it "maturity". But you know if you're allowed you'd rip through that junk like the hulk.
Everyone, young and old alike, love the mystery of gifts and presents. The concealed becoming revealed. And these videos do just that.
As a parent, and as a believer, this whole idea made me ask myself some serious questions.
These cheap, dollar-spot toys. These fake, and over-materialized "possessions" have entranced the masses, and they're nothing but junk.
As Christians, we carry the gospel message, which is truth. It's life. It's the way. It's real and alive and it is the best gift anyone of us has ever received. We should be unwrapping this gift for the world to see!
The gospel would blow those trinkets out of the water!
The simplicity of the gospel allows for us to turn off our rationalizing and logical explanations of our own ways- or sin- and realize that God is bigger and able to redeem over them. The simplicity is that while we were sinners, Christ died for us, and now we are welcomed to enjoy this gift!
And it's just that: a gift. It's a present. It's a surprise. It's the best one yet. And the best one that will ever be, and we aren't exactly marketing it that way!
There are people searching and looking- hundreds of thousands- for a new and remarkable gift. They watch for hours on YouTube in search of it- and they aren't going to find it there. They will find it when it's given to them by people like me and you, who can unwrap the secrets and mysteries and present it in all of its glory to them!
Unlike the products marketed by these videos, there is no lack-luster appearance of the gospel. In fact, contrary to the way packaging works for material possessions, the gospel only gets better and more baller the further it's unpacked!
Start tearing through that paper for a friend. Start ripping through the wrappers for your family. And start revealing the mystery of the gospel for the lost to be found! It's the one time when "maturity" isn't marked by keeping still or quiet or containing ourselves- no. Quite contrary! Maturity comes when we boast in Christ and make His name famous among ALL men.
Forget unboxing videos....it's time we started unboxing Jesus.
And that may mean we need to unbox Him from the "boxes" we've put Him in ourselves.
The Bible tells us He will pour out His spirit on all flesh- but part of that process is that we start telling all flesh of His spirit. We are players in the pouring out. And it's time the earth was filled with his glory! So start unpacking! Cause it's really really good!