By Lynn Jones
Wrapping Christmas gifts is something I try to avoid as much as possible. When I am forced to wrap a gift, my main purpose is to conceal the gift. With that as my guideline, almost any method will do, as long it hides the gift. No fancy ribbons or bows for me. Put the gift in a gift bag, place a piece of paper over it, and I am done.
It is different when my wife Danielle wraps a Christmas gift. She carefully chooses the wrapping paper or the gift bag. She adds ribbons, bows, snow, and glitter. The way the gift is wrapped speaks as profoundly as the gift itself.
How do you wrap a gift? How a gift is wrapped has always been an important part of Christmas.
In fact, if you go all the way back to that first Christmas and the greatest gift, it was like that. Mary “brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).
No one ever wrapped a Christmas gift with greater care than did Mary. She had been getting ready for the arrival of this great gift since the angel Gabriel had told her of His coming. Now, she carefully wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and she wrapped Him in love.
God also wrapped this gift of His Son in love. How else do you explain such a thing happening? A favorite theme of the stories that we tell is the theme, “from rags to riches.” Some of our favorite stories tell of people who were dressed in rags, but who were able to work their way up to positions of great riches. The Christmas story is strangely different. The theme of this story is “from riches to rags.” Jesus moved from the riches of heaven to the rags of a stable in Bethlehem. No rich robes here. Mary “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger”.
Only love can move someone to do something so strange and sacrificial. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16). This gift was wrapped, not just in swaddling clothes, but He was wrapped in love.
What will be our response to Christmas? How will we wrap the Gift?
When our son was a toddler, we had a little manger scene in our living room. We were so proud that our son learned to point to the baby in the manger and say, “Jesus.” When Christmas was over, we would ask him, “Where is Jesus?” He would go to the place where we had had the manger scene, point to it, and say, “Jesus, gone, gone.”
Is Jesus gone when Christmas is over? No, what we need to do is wrap Him with love in our lives and let others see Jesus in us.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.