Gift Wrapping

47 years ago, Dale thought about investing in the 3M company. It was the first year he saw me actually wrapping gifts. I loved using tape. Every corner was crisp and clean and sealed with tape. It became a running joke throughout our marriage, especially at Christmastime.

Wrapping gifts was my favorite part of Christmas. I love the paper, the ribbon, and the tape. I’d never tire of wrapping and even volunteered to help others with their wrapping. People considered me odd. I was always disappointed when the last gift was brought out of the bag and was finished. Everything was wrapped in stockings also. Little bows of ribbon adorned each stocking gift.

Yes, I know it was excessive. It was me. Put me in a room by myself and I was close to heaven. I would pray over each gift for the person receiving the gift. I still do that.

This year the tape use was down by 90%. The ribbons? Just a bow tied on. No little ornaments tied to them. Stockings? Half wrapped and some just thrown into them.

I finished wrapping most of the gifts we are giving this evening. I am sore and tired. I haven’t gone to all bags, but it was tempting tonight.

I whined about a sore back during dinner. I left my mess laying in the dining room. I will get to it later on. I put the packages under the family tree, but didn’t spend several minutes making it look perfect. I may do that later this week.

I was amazed at the difference even from last year. I never thought I would get this way.

As I pondered this, it occurred to me that the fussy ribbons and bows are just window dressing. Important, yes, but not necessary.

From that thought came the remembrance that the most precious gift I ever received was not wrapped. It had no tags on it. No beautiful ribbons. None of that. In fact, the most precious gift I have received came from a brutal and messy situation. The Giver of that gift died for me. The little baby that we celebrate this time of the year was born to die for us. Was born to give us salvation. Was born to be tortured and beaten and crucified for me.

I have recognized this each year. Yet, it hit me a bit differently this year. I think of the Grinch, who realized that ““Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

Perhaps we all need to think about this. That infant that we pause to think of during this season, is the reason we give the gifts. We try to find the perfect toy, the perfect outfit, the perfect whatever. When what we are meaning with gifts is a reminder that we love people, love family, love those who have stood beside us during the year. We give because we have an example of the perfect gift.

““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)

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