“I wrapped my Christmas Presents early this year, but I used the wrong wrapping paper.
See the paper I used said “Happy Birthday”.
I didn’t want to waste it so I just wrote “Jesus” on it.”
Demetri Martin – American Comic
What a great reframe! To say nothing of thrift, accuracy and a wicked sense of humour…and a sprinkling of truth! After all it is actually Jesus’s OFFICIAL birthday that we celebrate on December 25th, albeit wrapped up with the Winter Solstice, Festivals of Light, Egyptian and Roman deities and so on…so whilst we are busy giving each other presents, it only seems fair to give something to Jesus as we don’t know the exact time of his birth.
I am writing this in the early hours of Ellie’s birthday, as I like to write my posts well in advance of the release date, and contemplating the whole present thing:
Why do we, including the dogs, love them? What was the meaning of the presents purportedly presented to Christ by the Magi, albeit some two years or thereabouts after his birth? Why we do we shroud our gifts in the mystery of wrapping paper (which often costs a fortune and is thrown away more often than not)? What is the essence of the present?
It is to my mind the intention – it’s the thought that counts…though so often that is a cruel barb that haunts us when Aunt Barbara or Godfather….have offered yet another useless and clearly out of touch gift AGAIN!
Giving a present to someone is bringing attention to your intention to remind someone of your shared presence and hopefully love and esteem. It is a representation of your relationship with that recipient and your shared experience…and so actually the “Happy Birthday, Jesus” works just as well as Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, which are another conundrum in themselves – was the gold really gold or another spice, what do they represent: Kingship, or the High Priest or the Healer?
Leaving that aside for another time, there is a more pressing set of presents to be wrapped, and later unwrapped – in one of our favourite ways – using vintage music, which rather than being thrown away can be further recycled should you want to into tree decorations, or cards, or garlands….
Either which way there’s nothing like the present to declare it’s a wrap or in Ellie’s case, her favourite saying is: there’s no time like the present to unwrap it!! So on 25th December say “Happy Birthday, Jesus” but for now it’s “Happy 10th Birthday, Ellie”.