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Wayne Weekly “Wrapped Up in Christmas”

Written by on December 5, 2018

Wrapping gifts is part of Christmas. I’m not really very good at it, probably because I really don’t take the time to learn how to do it perfectly. I manage to cover the present entirely with gift wrap…most of the time. My ends are usually a bit uneven and crinkly. If I use a bow, it had better be one of those pre-made ones. I think my biggest objective to wrapping is leaning over the package…my back and neck get tired after 4 or 5 gifts. That’s probably because I use a bed as a table, and can’t sit down!

It’s amazing how we do all that work, maybe hide our work away in a closet or under a blanket where no one can see, and then have our efforts undone, even ripped apart in a moment of time. The toil, the sore back, the striving for perfection ends up in a trash bag or in the fireplace. But the smiles and the hugs and the sound of an appreciative “thank you” always make things right.

Well over two-thousand years ago a gift to us was wrapped by a loving and caring mother. That present was wrapped in swaddling clothes. The baby Jesus was God’s incredible gift to us…because “God so loved the world…”

I recently read from one writer that swaddling clothes were often taken by travelers on a long journey. It is said that these strips of cloth accompanied the traveler so in the event of his dying on the trail his body could be wrapped. This would have prophetic significance, however there is no indication of language in the New Testament that swaddling means burial cloths.

Another thought by some is the swaddling clothes that Mary had may have been given to her by someone with wealth, since poorer infants would generally not be clothed. Finding a poor family in a stable with a newborn lying in a feeding trough wrapped in swaddling clothes, would certainly be an unusual “sign” to the shepherds who sought out the holy child.

Whatever the meaning or source of that gift wrap is inconclusive. The most important thing was the precious gift it wrapped.

I suppose we could say that gift wrapping is a “sign” to us to remember the babe in a manger. How wonderful that the first gift of Christmas can be opened by any who come to the stable… and end up at the cross.

“And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”                                                                       Luke 2:12