Saturday, December 16, 2006

Counterpoint: A Biblical Case for Gift Wrapping

COUNTERPOINT, by the Ironic Catholic:

It has been said that a critical reading of Matthew argues that the Magi, being "wise men," did not wrap the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh given to the Christ child; ergo, Christmas givers should not wrap their gifts as well. A historical-critical interpretation of the text, as licensed by Dei Verbum, yields an important counterpoint: there was no wrapping paper in 1st century Palestine. The precious nature of papyrus did not lend itself to one-time use. Let's face it, people weren't pounding reeds on rocks, painfully extracting the fibers, and drying them into paper to wrap anything.

However, the practice of wrapping gifts is evidenced in other sections of the Bible. For example, in Genesis 43, the gifts of silver, honey, spices, and myrhh that Joseph's brothers brought to him in Egypt were wrapped in sacks. In Genesis 24:53, "Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah", the text clearly implies that the gifts came out of a container, perhaps, a gift box, by the verb "brought out."

Finally, we can agree that the greatest gift the world has known is Jesus Christ. And what did the Blessed Mother do? "She wrapped him in swaddling clothes...."

If Jesus was wrapped, so should we wrap our Christmas gifts, because...

1. The Blessed Mother was wise.
2. She was a woman.



DMinor said...

I'm all for the gift bag theory re the wise men -- the gold frankinscense and especially the myrrh would have to be contained in something. The Christ child, like all babies do, arrived in his birthday suit, and then was wrapped on receipt. Hmmm, maybe this passage teaches us to put our gifts away after we get them . . . .

Melody said...

"1. The Blessed Mother was wise"
2. She was a woman."

Haha... excellent counterpoint indeed.

~m2~ said...

amen :)

Gregory said...

Hezekiah 6:42 - And, lo, Mary replied, "I thanketh thee for thy gifts, recieved in 100% Recycled Ikea Gift paper." And the Lord did grin.

Ray from MN said...

Absolutely amazing, I.C.!

After maybe 1700 years of biblical hermeneutics, I would venture to state not one of the hundreds of thousands of articles, bulls, letters, encyclicals, theses, term papers, etc., written by saints and sinners, scholars and heretics have ever analyzed the role of wrapping in the Old and New Testaments.

I wouldn't be surprised but that a covenant might be found that specifies the proper way to wrap.

Too bad that danged tenure resume got submitted on time.

Now if you were a man, it probably would have been late with lots of accompanying excuses and you would have been able to submit it with this new and revolutionary research, thus guaranteeing a unanimous thumbs up from the committee.

Maybe you could make it part of your habilitations-schrift at Regensburg or Muenster as your further your academic career.

Diesel said...

IC - Can you dig up some evidence that baby Jesus would have really liked a new iPod?

Cathy_of_Alex said...

IC: Until the USCCB issues a statement mandating gift wrap, I will continue to follow the original exigesis against wrapping. In other words, continue to do as I see fit.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Diesel: Ephesians 5:19

Cathy: you're such a cafeteria Catholic ;-)

Cathy_of_Alex said...

IC: In this case, yes, I am choosing from the buffet you have presented. :-)