Most of the following was written or inspired by my friend Hollis–
This is the time of the year when we think back to the First Christmas and how the three Magi followed the star to the Manger. There they presented unto the Holy Child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (And what is frankincense and what is myrrh? I bet that the Milltown trivia crowd can’t answer those questions.) These are precious gifts usually presented only to royalty but if we look more carefully, we discover an important, yet overlooked, archaeological fact: THERE IS NO MENTION OF WRAPPING PAPER.
If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would probably have said so. Here is my response if the gifts were wrapped: “And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was probably festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snow Man. And Joseph was going to throweth it all away. But Mary saiddeth to him, ‘Holdeth It! That is nice paper and we need to saveth it for next year.’ And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs.” (Actually, the gifts were probably delivered in a goat skin tote bag.)
But these words do not appear in the Bible which means that the gifts at the First Christmas were not wrapped. This is because the people giving the gifts had two important characteristics–they were wise and they were men.
Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift so someone else can rip open pictures of Santa Claus. This is not just my opinion. This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of people I know.
I sought the opinions of current day kings. I asked West Point Mayor Steve Tramell if he ever wrapped gifts. He responded, “Only if it is such a poor gift that I do not want to be there when the person opens it.”
The other ruling class contact was LaFayette Mayor Barry Moody who told me that he does wrap gifts. But as a matter of principle, he never takes more than 16 seconds per gift. No one ever has to wonder which presents that Mayor Moody wraps at Christmas. They are the ones that look like gifts taped up in a paper shopping bag.
I also wrap gifts, but because of a defect in my fine motor skills, I can never wrap a present that is “presentable.” I can take a gift the size of a deck of playing cards and put in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation pool table. Then I try to wrap the paper around the gift but when I am done, part of the gift is still exposed.
On the other hand, in her younger years, my wife could take a twelve-inch square of paper and wrap her SUV. Women seem to enjoy wrapping. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she even goes to the trouble of wrapping them separately.
Even the greatest gift of all was wrapped in swaddling clothes by his mother Mary! Merry Christmas!
(Note: Frankincense is sap from a desert tree and myrrh is embalming oil.)