It’s a Wrap

December 22, 2008 | 15 comments

Wrapping Christmas presents has become something of an art at our house. Not because I use fancy paper or tie handmade bows.

Rather, the art is in The Disguise.

You were a kid once. You know what I mean. Admit it: You searched for your name on the tag, analyzed the shape of the gift, shook the gift for a hint at the contents, and perhaps even peeled back the paper for a closer look. (This is why we don’t use gift bags in our house.)

My girls are 7 and 4. So now you know why the Great Disguise has become Standard Operating Procedure in our home. They’ve got this thing figured out. Small flat squares are CDs. Slightly larger packages hint at DVDs. Wrapped books and board games — even Barbies — are quickly identified. And then there’s the dreaded rectangular box that surely contains jeans or a scratchy church dress.

So there I was, at 5 p.m. on a snowy Sunday, four days before Christmas. I headed for the bedroom with a Fiskars, Scotch tape, a few rolls of cheap wrapping paper and a variety of odd-shaped boxes originally designed for Gap shirts, Skechers shoes and a 12-pack of Blue Moon bottles.

The Great Disguise had begun.

I stuffed a kaleidoscope, spinning tops and bubble gum into a Younkers shirt box. Three of Anna’s books fit nicely in a shoe box. And so it went.

Finished, I patted myself on the back, unlocked the door and paraded the gifts past the girls, placing each of them under the tree.

My oldest daughter wasted no time in her detective work, picking up a Younkers box and determining it contained “some boring shirt.” She was more eager to hug boxes that she believed held items from her wish-list.

Funny thing: I know how she feels. I want my wishes to come packaged in ways I expect.

But blessings come disguised, don’t they?

Like today’s snowstorm. We couldn’t leave our home, couldn’t even go to church for the second Sunday in a row. Wrapped in snow, we unwrapped rest.

Later, it was time for the girls’ baths, which they ordinarily dread. I wrapped the room in candlelight, ginger-snap cookies and Hershey’s kisses. Repackaged, bathtime became a treat.

And just now, as I write, it is well past bedtime. My husband and my girls have long ago been tucked into bed. Gifts, they are, wrapped in soft blankets.

So I sit here, typing at my computer, thinking about the contents of the unexpected gifts inside disguised packages.

I think about all the gifts that have come to me in odd shapes, at odd times, in ways that I never anticipated.

And now, four days before we honor Jesus’ birthday, I think about Him: a gift wrapped in swaddling clothes, a King who showed up in a feed trough. He is at once the Gift, and the Giver.

Suddenly, I realize the truth about gifts. The disguised ones are often the most valuable.

by | December 22, 2008 | 15 comments


  1. Alexandra Mikaela - Awareness Warrior

    Awesome post- you articulate your thoughts and feelings so well! It’s such a treat to read your blog =)

  2. Rick D.

    If we can only see Christ as the child in the manger, how will we recognize Him in the eyes of a stranger?

    Yes, the rhyme is intentional – from a tune I’ve been writing – but it fits this post to a “T.”

    Well put, Jennifer! 🙂

  3. Red Letter Believers

    I had a blessing unwraped to me a few weeks ago…and I never would have known.

    And it was out there for a long time before I realized that is was mine for the taking!

    Sweet message …love your blog
    Red Letter Believers

  4. Carey

    Ah, wonderful post my friend! I’m sure the shepherds were surprised to be told that such a wonderful gift came in the form of a baby in a lowly manger. God’s blessings to you this Christmas!

  5. Billy Coffey

    I cannot wrap a present. Last year I used two rolls of wrapping paper and a roll and a half of tape to wrap three presents for my wife. Seriously. Which proves your point-it isn’t the wrapping as much as what’s inside.

  6. janelle

    You are precious! I pray that your entire family receives a unexpected gift this Christmas all because, and ONLY because, of Jesus. Love to you…

  7. lynnrush

    Great post. There are only a couple gifts under our tree (just me and my hubby in our little family.) But it’s the thought…and even if someone (billy) used two rolls of paper wrapping the couple gifts under our tree….hey, it’s all good.

    The best gift for all of us is the one you mentioned, Jennifer. The one wrapped in swaddling clothes born on Christmas Day to save us.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. Jesse and Sarah

    I agree; it’s not as much fun using gift bags full of tissue paper for presents. We seldom use those to, even for birthday parties, but there are times in which we’ve gotten those bags that we’ve saved and recycled them for another event. (We just had to make sure we took the ‘To/From’ tag off.) 😉

    You’re absolutely right! The disguised gifts are truly the one’s of most value; just as Christ the King was disguised to those expecting a ‘real’ King, not a baby born in a stable, yet the one born in the barn (manger) was and REMAINS to be the TRUE King of all.

  9. valerie lynn

    What a beautiful post! Oh it really touched me reading it. I love your blog! It is always so uplifting to me to come and read what you have written. You always, always put a smile on my face. May your Christmas be filled with love, joy, peace and happiness. May your day be filled with blessings! Much love to you and your family!

  10. Leslie

    Jennifer, thanks for visiting my blog. Your comment really lifted me up. Plus, it led me right back to yours. What a beautiful post! I love when somebody finds the message in ordinary happenings. In the hustle and bustle of life, especially Christmas-time, its so easy to miss. Thanks for reminding me to slow down and take a look around.

  11. sheshe

    Hi there Jennifer. I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Patty’s friend Cherie. (I didn’t realize my name would actually appear as she she – corny I know) I just was curious to check out your blog and I’m so glad I did. I love the image of disguised blessings you created. Thanks for sharing it. I know just what you mean…

  12. Ruth Hull Chatlien

    Good analogy. I’m wondering what disguised blessings I might have missed recently.

    And so true about Jesus being both gift and giver.

  13. Sockrma18

    Great post! And yep….pretty sure I’ve missed many a great gift because my head was in the sand instead of my eyes being focused on Jesus. But….and this is the best part….God has a plan and I know that I know there are many more disguised blessings to come. I just gotta remember to not try to unwrap those gifts too early. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    ~ Becki, a fellow Iowan!

  14. Anonyblogger

    “But blessings come disguised, don’t they?”

    Yes, Jennifer, they sure do. I recently received a gift off my wishlist but it came in a unique and unexpected package. Day by day as I “unwrap” her the blessings pour out. Thanks to you I now have a vision of God secretly putting her all together in that rare and lovely bundle as a special surprise just for me.

  15. Aundria B.

    How true this is. I couldn’t tell you how many times God’s brought the blessing through the back door while I’ve been in the livingroom focused on jut the front door. Thank you for the reminder that blessings don’t always come in the ways we might expect them to.


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