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ROGER WATSON COLUMN: Wrapping gifts can be a struggle

I’m horrible at wrapping presents.

I never get the paper measured right. I can’t do a neat corner. My packages look they were wrapped by a 4-year-old. I depend on those nice bags for gift giving.

The gift-wrapping duties in our family have been taken over by my youngest daughter. Grace has the gift-wrapping gene among us and makes everything look snazzy with bows, glitter and fancy name tags. Her presents are so pretty it seems a shame to unwrap them on Christmas morning.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Nativity scenes this Advent season. The Nativity was the gift box for God’s son. All the scenes have many of the same elements in different forms. Mary and Joseph frame the Christ child who is always in the center of the Nativity. They are surrounded by different representations of God’s kingdom here on Earth. Sheep, donkeys, cows and goats all make appearances in various scenes. Shepherds are also included and sometimes the Wise Men, who actually didn’t see the child for about three years, are portrayed in the scene as well.

It’s a familiar way to represent God’s gift to humanity.

With the bright star shining above showing the location of the gift and angels proclaiming the good news to shepherds in the fields, God created the gift box with the best wrapping ever.

Unexpected that it was in a barn, understated that the Saviour of man was laid in a feeding trough shortly after his birth, but perfect in so many ways.

This Christmas season, when you look at the familiar Nativity scene, think about all the events that had to come together for the birth to happen the way it did. The trip to Bethlehem to pay taxes. The fact that there was no room in the inn. The star, the angels and the arrival of the Messiah in a most unlikely setting.

God’s gift was presented in a way that seemed to be an unfair challenge for a couple already faced with an unplanned pregnancy. It was dirty, smelly and likely a little chilly. But it was perfect. The Nativity reminds us that this Child is a gift for all — no matter who we are, how much we have to give, from where we come, or the language we speak.

May we all approach this Gift with eyes open to the all of beauty and blessings it brings and may we be willing to share that gift — and that grace-filled spirit — with everyone.

Roger Watson is publisher of The Stanly News & Press.