This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Who in the world would wait until Christmas Eve to do their Christmas shopping? I find it hard to believe the statistics that show December 24th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, so one season I decided to venture out to the stores and see for myself. I usually have my Christmas list complete by Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, so even though I was elbow to elbow with anxious shoppers, I didn’t feel the same angst that seemed etched on their faces.
I traveled to my favorite department stores and picked through a few stocking stuffers. Low and behold, I saw three of my in-laws scrambling for gifts. I picked up a few items and went to stand in the check-out line about sixteen people deep. Maybe this was the “season to be jolly” but the people in line at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve were anything but cheerful.
Amazingly, they were talking to each other. Strangers who normally would never speak to each other in a checkout line were chatting away about Christmas plans, families, special purchases, and where to find great last minute bargains. I enjoyed listening to the friendly banter. It seemed the shoppers were bonding by a common cause—get the shopping finished today!
The young lady in front of me was laden down with five large rolls of very expensive wrapping paper. She turned to me and said, “I can’t believe I’m spending over $25 on wrapping paper. It seems like such a waste for something that’s going to be torn off and thrown in the trash tomorrow. But at least I won’t have to get back in that traffic and go to another store.”
I didn’t bother telling her about the paper I saw on sale for one-fifth the price she was about to pay. By the look on her face, the $20 saving wouldn’t be worth the trip. Instead, I said, “Oh, it is expensive, isn’t it? But it will look lovely under your tree.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I think it’s pretty, too.”
Musing over the idea of wrapping paper took me back to the origin of the gift giving tradition. We give gifts at Christmas because the wise men gave gifts to baby Jesus. But were they wrapped? I don’t think so. I didn’t even remember wrapping being mentioned in the Christmas story at all…except in two places.
When baby Jesus was born: While they were there [Mary and Joseph], the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available to them” (Luke 2:6-7 NIV).
And then the angel said to the shepherds: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 NIV).
The New Living Translation says it this way: And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Ah, the first Christmas gift was wrapped indeed.
As I watched the young lady dash to her car with her shiny gold paper I thought, “Maybe that expensive paper is not such a waste after all.”
As you look at the beautifully wrapped gifts under your tree this year, remember that the most important gift of all—the one that was wrapped just for you—is the Christ Child Himself.
Dear Jesus, my heart is full today just thinking about that first Christmas Day. Thank You for taking on the form of man, for humbling Yourself and leaving Your throne just for me. I am wrapped in gratitude pondering Your amazing gift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What does it mean to you that Jesus…the first Christmas gift…was wrapped for you?
Read Luke 2 from a different translation of the Bible than you’re used to, and see if any words jump out that you’ve never considered before.
Dollar stores have lovely wrapping paper and gifts bags.
Use brown paper and let your children color trees, bells, and stars on them.
Buy gift wrapping after Christmas and save it until next year. (Just don’t forget where you put it!)
Click on comment and share some of your best Christmas traditions!
Here’s one of ours: we pray for the people who send us Christmas cards.
More from the Girlfriends
Need something special to read on Christmas morning? Click here to print out Sharon’s 1 Corinthians 13 Christmas which has been read all around the world.
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Thank you, each day, for these messages we unwrapped from the word of God that bless and challenge our hearts!
I enjoyed the money saving tips, and especially reading about the Christmas tradition of praying for each person that sent a card. That is wonderful! I enjoyed the devotional as well. Thank you.
I love that the Word of God tells us that the baby Lord Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth, I also think when I meditate on this fact, that the sacrificed Lord Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth after His death on the cross. I’m tearful and grateful to the earthly parents who cared deeply for the baby and took care of Him the best they could and that close dear friends of the crucified Christ Jesus cared for Him after He died on the cross to save me and you from our sins. Indeed God is with us, He provided love and warmth after the “Christ child’s birth in a place where it looked like there were no resources to care for the baby, and God provided friends that risked their very lives to care for His body after Jesus’ public hemiliation and death to step up and lovingly care His body. God is our protection and provider.
I’ve never thought of that!
Our church is not having Christmas Eve service. I decided we would have our own Christmas service at home, so I’ve been searching for a story or poem, or something to put with the Christmas story that would help this Christmas stick for my tween and teenage children. I am going to use this devotional. It is such a great story and one I had not ever considered. Thank you. Merry Christmas
When our son was little, we would always buy an ornament for the tree to honor Jesus. That ornament was wrapped and then opened first before any other gift. The other tradition was to watch “The Little Drummer Boy” very, very early in the morning a few days before Christmas. He and I did that every year until he was 20. I pray that he remembers those traditions when he has his own children some day. I love the visual that Jesus was “wrapped” for us! I never looked at it that way before, and it really made me smile with love. Thank you for a beautiful devotion!
You’ve given me a new perspective on Mary and Joseph.
Imagine if the both of them had not heeded the words of God, by way of the angelic messengers?
They had to operate like spies to avoid King Herod (Matt. 2); and God used the Magi to protect His precious “Gift”to us!
If God can orchestrate all of these people to protect Jesus for us, then nothing is impossible for Him!
Jesus may have been wrapped in”cloths”…but, your visual of the baby Jesus being “wrapped” as our first real Christmas gift, was perfect!
Thank you for this blessing being wrapped in the message of Christmas.
It is a precious image, isn’t it.