The Wrapping Doesn't Count
Eight year old Mary, like all children, looked forward to the Christmas season with happy anticipation. Although her parents were poor, yet there were always gifts and candy waiting for her on Christmas morning. This year Mary had been thinking of how she could surprise her parents with a gift. The little money she had earned through running errands was carefully counted over and over. Would there be enough to buy something nice? Many an hour was spent looking in store windows and one day her eyes lit upon a brightly colored candy bowl and she knew that this was it. Her purchase was made quickly, but it was not until she had arrived home that she thought about the wrapping paper and ribbon. A gift so fine should surely have a special wrapping, but alas, her money had all been spent. “Oh well,” she thought, “it’s really the gift that counts.” Then slipping into her room quietly, she wrapped the candy bowl in newspapers. For fear that the poorly wrapped gift might go unnoticed she attached a note with large letters reading: To Mommy and Daddy. THE WRAPPING DOESN’T COUNT. It’s good inside.’’ Then tiptoeing downstairs she placed her humble gift beside the brightly decorated gifts already there.
The greatest gift ever given which brought lasting joy to countless numbers and has changed the eternal destiny of millions was wrapped in swaddling clothes at birth. These coarse, worthless scraps of material revealed in fact Christ’s depth of condescension, for they held within them the kingelect, the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. The wrapping at birth characterized His entire life and spirit while on earth. There were the years of obscurity when dressed as a common woodworker, Christ labored in the carpenter shop in Nazareth. Next came the three and one-half years of public ministry spent about His Father’s business, speaking words of truth and alleviating the suffering of the fallen race. He, with His little band of lowly pilgrims, was without home or wealth and dressed in the garb of the poor. Often He was reproached for eating with the outcasts of society. The climactic hours of His life were spent on a hill called Calvary. A few hours before the brutality suffered there He stood in Pilate’s Judgment Hall in torn and bloodstained garments, yet in this condition, when questioned by Pilate, He answered that He was King and to this end was He born. Never was He wrapped in garments of royalty nor crowned with jewelled crown while here on earth, instead they “parted His garments, casting lots upon them,” and upon His Holy brow they placed a mocking crown of thorns. Shortly thereafter his expired body was lovingly wrapped by Joseph of Arimathaea in a clean linen cloth never again to be wrapped in the clothing of this world. God raised Him from the dead on the third day in a new and glorious body of triumph.
The world will soon see this “same Jesus” again. This time He will not appear in swaddling clothes or garments of the poor, nor will He wear a crown of thorns. He will appear the second time in majesty, crowned with glory and honour as the mighty world conqueror. Every eye shall see Him and every knee will bow before Him for “He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.”
Many have stumbled at the wrapping. Their eyes have seen only the form of a man, the swaddling clothes and His lowly estate. They have never recognized His inward beauty, His grace, His truth, nor His deity. They have never considered that His poverty was due to His love for them. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” II Corinthians 8:9
How important it is to trust the lowly man of Nazareth as Saviour in this day of Grace, for in His next appearance He will come “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” II Thessalonians 1:8
Trust Him this Christmas season as your Saviour. It was for this purpose He came, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:11