By Marc Rademaker
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”– Luke 2:7
Christmas. Wrapped. The first thing that comes to mind? Probably presents sitting under the tree waiting to be unwrapped, dying to see what’s underneath that seal that has disguised them. The anticipation coursing through you as you watch the smiles on others’ faces when they open their gifts. Then, it’s your turn. Once the presents are revealed, we finally get confirmation that we got what we asked for. Then we enjoy the gift for some time and the next year we look forward to unwrapping another one (or several).
But one very special thing is also wrapped up for us this Christmas. Its packaging may not be as gaudy, and the surprise may not be as intense, but nevertheless this “greatest gift of all” is here. Year after year, we wait for this gift and are ready to celebrate and joyfully unwrap the baby Jesus and to receive His love.
But why should we be so quick to unwrap? Our first tendency is to open up the gift laid before us and see what is under all that covering. We want to open up Jesus and hold Him close, to let His love flow through us.
But I think that Jesus being wrapped up in cloths is something we should emulate, not something we should be so quick to undo.
The baby Jesus is wrapped not in the most comfortable sheets or a blanket, but cloth given to Him out of all His Mother had. This love is displayed through how carefully He is wrapped up: tightly, safely. He takes on the poorest, those most in need when He embraces them by becoming one of them – one of us. He is wrapped in all the parts of us we wish weren’t there, and yet He embraces them.
So why not receive Him the best way possible by following His example? He is wrapped in that cloth so that we don’t have to be. We become free to be wrapped in joy, peace, love when He takes on all the external barriers and packaging we’d rather not have. And just like Jesus didn’t wrap Himself, we can’t wrap ourselves either, but we do have to let Him do the wrapping. Imagine Jesus wrapping His arms around you; imagine the peace and security you feel as a result. Just like Mary wrapped Jesus lovingly and carefully, let’s allow ourselves to be wrapped in that same love and let Jesus bring us that peace.
If all else fails, we can be certain that this Christmas gift will come every year. We don’t even have to unwrap it to know what’s inside. And while it may be the same gift we’ve seen before, who couldn’t use a refreshing dose of the eternal peace and love inside that bundle of joy: the baby Jesus?
Take a load off, and let Jesus do the wrapping this Christmas. And the best part? We don’t even have to unwrap this gift to know what’s inside, because the gift is in the wrapping.