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That's A Wrap!


I will never forget the gift I received from my nephew, Ben, in 2016 at our family Christmas. It was a huge box beautifully wrapped and tagged with my name, “Aunt Angie”. He had used an entire roll of tape to ensure that it would not be an easy unveiling. The festive wrapping paper appealed to the eye and the anticipation of opening this unexpected gift welled up within me. Do you want to know what was in it?


Before getting to the rest of the story, let’s learn a little history of the modern-day gift-wrapping industry. Hallmark is credited with its founding in the year of 1917. Gift bags were introduced in 1987 and, according to Hallmark research and sales history, they have been –much to my chagrin—the number one-way consumers choose to present gifts since 2002.


Gift bags are pretty, and seeing as my love language is gifts, I would never refuse one. Nonetheless, there is something about a beautifully wrapped package that caters to the fun of getting presents! To adorn a package elegantly with wrapping paper one must practice the skill. It requires careful measurement, meticulous folding, scissors, tape, and just the right ribbon accent.


Wrapped gifts are celebratory. They have been purchased sacrificially by the giver, are concealed from prying eyes, and contain items that are intended to satisfy the heart of the receiver. Every party is better when gifts are involved, am I right?


God’s Word speaks of another kind of wrapping—God’s wrap-around presence.


“God, your wrap-around presence, is my protection and my defense. You bring victory to all who reach out for you.” Psalm 7:10 TPT

“Lord, you are a paradise of protection to me. You lift me above the fray when I’m held firmly in your wrap-around presence!” Psalm 61:3 TPT

“He alone is my safe place; his wrap-around presence always protects me for he is my Champion defender; there’s no risk of failure with God. So, why would I et worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?” Psalm 62:2 TPT

“God, your wrap-around presence is our defense, in your kindness look upon the faces of your anointed ones.” Psalm 84:9 TPT

“You’re my place of quiet retreat, and your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in your Word.” Psalm 119:114 TPT


Throughout the book of Psalms, God is referred to as our fortress, our rock. In The Passion Translation of God’s Word, these terms are translated as God’s “wrap-around presence”.

Don’t you love that? Can you feel it? God’s presence wrapped around you. It was bought with the sacrifice of His Son. It conceals you from busybodies. Inside God’s presence wrapped around you is a most delightful gift, YOU!


As I was contemplating the “wrap”, I drew three comparisons. Gift wrap shows awareness of value. Bubble wrap shows awareness of vulnerability. An ACE bandage wrap shows awareness of vitiation (the potential for harm to impair the value or usefulness of something).



What comfort is there in the awareness that God’s wrap-around presence can keep us secure in our value, safe amidst our vulnerability, and protected from vitiation!


God’s wrap-around presence is as close to us as our awareness of Him. If we fail to spend time cultivating the discipline of spending time in His presence, then we forfeit all these gifts of God to our human frailty.


That leads me back to my nephew’s gift of love on that Christmas in 2017. When I finally ripped off the wrapping paper, loosened the tape that was keeping the box tightly shut, and opened the box, I saw it. There it was. In the bottom of the beautifully wrapped box, my dear nephew had written a personal message. “Enjoy this big, beautiful box of disappointment.” Wow! What a letdown! Being the comedic character that he is, Ben laughed and laughed. Do you know who was not laughing initially? It was me. I was disappointed. The box was empty. From another person, it would have been a cruel trick.



God’s wrap-around presence is not a trick. It will never leave you empty. Take a minute right now and spend some time experiencing God’s wrap-around presence. This presence can only come around you when you choose to slow down, sit down, and spend time allowing God to wrap you up! And, I’d say….”That’s a Wrap!”


 


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