The story behind the gift wrap

Published 5:40 am Monday, December 25, 2017

Maybe it is because I do not get out as much as I should; perhaps it is because the only Christmas shopping I do is for my wife, but something happened this week that has not happened to me in several years – I found wrapping paper that had something about Jesus on it.

The store had a vast aisle, all the way down on both sides; as far as the eye could see was Christmas wrap. At least dozens if not over a hundred types of decorative paper to disguise a present within. I found two rolls with words on them – words like, “peace on earth,” “noel,” “the light of the world,” “Bethlehem,” “Baby Jesus,” and so on.

I picked up both rolls and carried them back to our cart. Julie quickly informed me we had all the wrapping we needed already at home. Showing her the rolls I asked, “When was the last time you saw wrap with this stuff on it?”

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“Oh wow! Go ahead and get it!” She seemed surprised.

Ever since we had the twelve-year-old girl visit our church and see the Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Bethlehem, farm animals, the manger; you know, she saw the Christmas story, and ask, “What’s any of this have to do with Christmas?” I have been looking for Christmas out there, and every year I see less and less.

The story is in the gift wrap.

All my children are 30-something. I cannot remember seeing wrapping paper with a drawing of a manger scene since they were children. Solid colors, usually green, red, gold or blue; favored characters from animated children’s movies, beautiful drawings of wintery scenes, penguins, snowmen, and of course Santa, rule the gift wrap aisle. Maybe a new way to save for retirement would be to secure some wrapping paper with a drawing of the manger because in fifty years it will be rare and valuable.

You may be thinking this is where I will go off and write about the commercialization of Christmas, how selfish people have become and how society has forgotten the baby Jesus. Sorry, but no, I will not be going in that direction. Let us talk about the reason for Christmas – the reason for Christmas is us – you and me.

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday and therefore, He should be the center of the holiday. In all aspects, Jesus and His virgin birth should be praised and honored, but He is not the reason for the birth. Unlike the rest of us, Jesus is God (John 1:1-2, 14). He always has been; He always will be (Hebrews 13:8). His birth was more of an arrival than a beginning. He chose when, where, and all other circumstances of His birth including the purpose. Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” He was born to bring about our redemption and make it possible for our adoption into the family of God.

When Mary was expecting, Joseph, still unaware of the miracle of the virgin birth was contemplating what to do with Mary when an angel came to him in a dream. The angel told Joseph that Jesus, “shall save his people from their sins.” The human race is the reason for His birth. He had to come to this earth to shed His blood for our redemption. 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” The babe in the manger was born to be the sacrificial lamb.

His death occurred to benefit everyone, but what about the adoption? That is our choice – John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” His blood was shed to redeem us, then when our faith receives Him as the Lamb the adoption is complete.

Underneath all the decorative wrap – the Santas, the snowmen, the bright colors, the ribbons, the beautiful winter scenes, the words “Noel” and “Merry Christmas” is the gentle baby arriving to meet His violent, bloody end for you and me. We are the reason. This Christmas remember why He was born.

Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind.