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.
I usually have my Christmas list complete by Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, and that was before social distancing. But a few years ago, I decided to venture out on Christmas Eve and see if the stats were right. Yep. They were. I was elbow to elbow with anxious shoppers, even though 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 2:00 pm 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 gatherings, special purchases, and where to find great last-minute bargains. I actually was enjoying listening to the friendly banter. It seemed the shoppers were bonding because of 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 $25.00 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 $20.00 savings wouldn’t have been 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. Then the words of Luke 2 floated through my mind like a song: “And you shall find the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.”
Ah, the first Christmas gift was wrapped after all.
As I watched the young lady dash to her car with her shiny gold paper I thought, “Maybe that expensive paper isn’t 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. Click & Tweet!
Dear Jesus, My heart is full today just thinking about that first Christmas Day. Thank You for humbling yourself and taking on the form of man. Thank You for leaving Your throne to walk the dusty roads of earth. I am wrapped in gratitude pondering Your amazing gift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Merry Christmas from our house to yours!