Gift Wrap

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

I’m going to a birthday party this afternoon. I don’t really like going to parties, but it’s for someone I really love, so I am going to gather my energies on this sunny day and go. I am determined to enjoy myself.

I have just finished preparing a gift. It was rather troublesome when it came to finding the perfect gift and wrapping it up nicely. And once you have the gift, how can you wrap it up nicely and in inside it include your heart and sincere wishes?

Gift giving seems like a fairly straight-forward thing, right. Buy it, wrap it, give it.

Sometimes, it is not as simple as we think. Take for example the following gift-giving traditions from Japan, Brazil, Egypt and Russia:

japanIn Japan, you are expected to bring a gift for your host. However, be prepared to have it politely refused. Insist nicely but firmly, if necessary several times, until they accept it. Oh, and another thing, the recipient of the gift will not open the gift in front of you. It is a very discreet business, and as such will only be opened once everyone goes away.

brazilIn Brazil DO NOT wrap a gift in purple. It is a color associated with death! Also, if you’re going to give flowers, make sure you give an odd number of stalks, because even numbers are reserved for funerary purposes.

egypt In Egypt, double-wrap your presents. The first wrap is a simple paper, not too attractive. The inner paper is the showy, nicer one with bright colors.

russia Finally, in Russia, it is acceptable to give your gifts late. And don’t try to send your gift early either!! Russians consider an early gift a thing of bad luck (figures). And the wrapping? Strangely, even an unwrapped gift with its original store packaging falls within acceptable gift-giving etiquette.

* * *

Funny isn’t it? Sometimes the manner of giving a gift matters so very much, that the gift inside can be overlooked in some instances, and other times the wrapping of the gift is so very deceptive as to the content inside–as I have learned to my chagrin in White Elephant gift exchanges.

Jokes aside, have you noticed how often we humans lose the greater picture of THE gift?

The Lord God of heaven collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to purchase the pearl of lost humanity. The Father gave all His divine resources into the hands of Christ in order that the richest blessings of heaven might be poured out upon a fallen race. God could not express greater love than He has expressed in giving the Son of His bosom to this world. This gift was given to man to convince him that God had left nothing undone that He could do, that there is nothing held in reserve, but that all heaven has been poured out in one vast gift. E. G. White, Youth’s Instructor

Think of Jesus. The savior of this world came in humble packaging. He didn’t come wrapped in glory and thunder, or in power and might. He came as a defenseless babe, and the wrapping on such marvelous gift was the swaddling cloth Mary put on him. That was how the shepherds met the savior of the world. As time went on, most people overlooked the savior because of the simple wrapping. What I’m trying to say is don’t overlook the greatest gift you have ever received because of the way it was presented to you. The more you look into the gift you received, the more amazing, wonderful and real it will become in your life.

Have a great week.

Images by Shaw Nielsen

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