I am a disgrace to my Japanese heritage in at least this one respect: While I do not mind giving gifts, I hate wrapping them. I make all kinds of excuses to explain away this shortcoming. I argue that, as a visually impaired person, I find the idea of gift wrapping totally meaningless. I insist that I am hopelessly inept when it comes to wrapping presents. I even claim that not using gift wrap conserves natural resources. Yet when all is said and done, my real reason for avoiding gift wrap is sheer laziness. It is, as I said, precisely in this that I fall short of my Japanese forebears.
For the people of Japan, gift wrap is no mere external. On the contrary, the Japanese regard a beautifully packaged present as an art form in and of itself. Such a gift, they believe, is a triple statement of honor. The well-wrapped gift bespeaks the generosity of the giver, the value of the gift, and the dignity of the recipient.
God, it would seem, is Japanese at heart. When He gave us the gift of His only-begotten Son, He was anything but lazy. On the contrary, He took great care to package His Gift in the exquisite gift wrap of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. In doing so, He proclaimed for all time His boundless generosity, Christ’s inestimable value, and the inherent dignity of every human soul.