Rite of Passage: Unwrapped
I hate wrapping Christmas presents. There—I finally got it off my chest. My wife is the best wrapper I know. She can wrap a Christmas present in under a minute and make it look as though it was purchased at Neiman Marcus.
I was not born to wrap presents in this world, nor the one to come. Not only was I not born to wrap presents, but I also should be banned from entering rooms that contain wrapping paper, Scotch tape or anything that looks like ribbon. When these items and I occupy the same space, they become an unholy trinity. For some reason, my presence causes the wrapping paper to fall off the table and unroll its entire contents.
Then comes the Scotch tape problem, actually two problems—no, make that three. Whenever I try to wrap my Christmas presents, the end of the tape always seems to disappear. Have you ever taken a roll of tape and turned it around and around and looking for the end—or is it the beginning? It’s easier to find the Ark of the Covenant than the end of a roll of Scotch tape. When you finally find it, what do you (and every other person on Earth) do next? You take the nail of your index finger and start scratching with the same intensity as a dog burying a bone, only to release a single sliver of tape. You tug on the sliver, hoping it will pull out into a full piece, but . . . it doesn’t. Suddenly, you find yourself staring at one long, unusable length of Scotch tape, 1/8-inch wide and 6 feet long.
The second problem with Scotch tape is that it seems to stick everywhere except the places I need it most. It sticks to my clothes, my hair and other pieces of tape, but when I finally get it where I think it belongs; it stays for about 10 seconds and then pops up. The final issue I have with Scotch tape is that you need three hands to make it work. Enough said.
My wife believes there are certain presents only I should wrap—the ones that come from me. This policy really stresses me out. Picture the scene in the Moore household: I tell my wife I’m going upstairs to wrap gifts. An hour later, she calls up the stairs, “Are you done yet?” No, I am not done yet. My kind of wrapping takes approximately an hour per present. The scenario repeats itself every time. I carefully measure how much wrapping paper I need. I make the cut only to discover my wrapping rectangle is now ¼-inch too small and crooked. I fold the edges of the paper to straighten them. The ¼-inch gap has now enlarged to ½-inch.
Years of experience, however, have taught me how to handle this problem. I cut another sliver of wrapping paper and tape it to the bottom of the box to fill in the gap. The only problems I’ve found with this method are that it requires more Scotch tape and won’t work at all if you’re wrapping something soft like socks. In order to make those fit the too-small wrapping paper, you’ll have to roll them into a tighter ball.
After I’ve spent several hours wrapping my small stash of presents, my wife asks if I remembered to remove the price tags. At this point I identify more with the Grinch than anyone in the biblical Christmas story.
Still, there is hope for people like me, all because of the greatest invention of the modern world—the gift bag. These wonderful aids for the wrapping-impaired allow you to drop your gift inside, cover it up with tissue paper, lift the bag by the handles and say, “Merry Christmas.” But my household also has a gift bag policy: one person can only use so many, so often. Period.
Despite my struggles, wrapping is important. That’s why I love Luke 2:12, “And this shall be a sign to you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The greatest gift of all time came wrapped—not in fancy wrapping paper, not with Scotch tape, not in a bag with tissue paper packed around it. The greatest gift came with the most humble of wrappings. And that, my friends, is what this season is all about. God invaded humanity not through a slick Hollywood production, but through a stable’s quiet door.
As this week before Christmas becomes hectic, remember that the best presents are wrapped with humility and have a ½-inch gap on the underside. I want to take this opportunity to wish my readers a Merry Christmas . . . and complimentary gift wrap to all.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)