Summary: UPDATED: For 2007. One thing that can’t be avoided during the Christmas season is the shopping. Here are some practical pointer’s to help out with your shopping. (This sermon ties in the Salvation message with shopping)

A small boy was writing a letter to God about the Christmas presents he badly wanted. “I’ve been good for six months now,” he wrote. But after a moment’s reflection he crossed out “six months” and wrote “three.” After a pause that was crossed out and he put “two weeks.” There was another pause and that was crossed out too. He got up from the table and went over to the little crib scene that had the figures of Mary and Joseph. He picked up the figure of Mary and went back to his writing and started again: “Dear God, if ever you want to see your mother again…!”

This is the time of year when we think back to when the Three Wise Men went to see the baby Jesus, and, according to the Book of Matthew, “presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often-overlooked, theological fact: In this account: There is no mention of wrapping paper!

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: “And lo, the gifts were encompassed about with 7 square cubits of paper. And the paper was covered within and without with pictures of Frosty, a man of snow. And Joseph purposed in his heart to cast the paper into the barrel of refuse, but Mary saith unto him, ‘Cease man! Drop the decorative parchment! It should be set aside for future generations!’ And Joseph didst roll his eyeballs. And it came to pass that the babe WAS more interested in the paper than the frankincense.”

…But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics: 1. They were wise. 2. They were men. Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off.

No one ever has to ask which gifts I wrapped…I just can’t figure out why? For some reason, I can never COMPLETELY wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a section of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen or scotch tape, or another piece of wrapping paper that looks completely out of place.)

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. I think she actually LIKES wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is bordering on mental illness.

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills -- like having babies - that come more naturally to women than to men.


Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped.

The editors of Woman’s Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack!

If you’re giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:

YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree? YOU: It’s a gift! See? It has a bow! YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It’s a leaf blower. YOU: Gas-powered! Five horsepower! YOUR WIFE: Thanks a lot!

YOU: Actually, I’m God’s gift to you. YOUR WIFE: I don’t think God does gag gifts!

Remember that the important thing is not what you give, or even how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.

Man doesn’t know much about wrapping, but man has learned all that he knows about giving from God. God is in the giving business.

• God gave Adam and Eve a piece of skin from an innocent animal to replace the fig leaves and cover their shame of nakedness.

• God gave Noah a plan for the ark that would provide for the saving of his household when judgment came.

• God gave Sarah a precious miracle child in her old age, and she named him Isaac.

• God gave the Israelites possession of the land flowing with milk and honey.

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