I struggle getting gifts for family and loved ones especially at Christmas time. The difficulty lies in selecting the best possible gift. My predicament is threefold: First, they may already have what I’m planning to get them. Second, they may not care to value or use it. Third, given they really need it, I worry if I have the means to pay for that gift! Have you faced a similar dilemma? The issue is whether a gift can been ‘afforded’ and then ‘received’ with appreciation.
God knew our problem of sin and need for forgiveness and fellowship and so God promised to give us an appropriate gift. He announced it through the prophets who clearly recorded it in the Scriptures: ‘For to us a child is born, to us a Son is gifted ’ (Isa.9:6). God is both able and faithful. He loved us enough that he gave his one and unique Son to be our Savior. God expects us to believe in who Jesus is and receive his offer of salvation (Jn.3:16; 1:12). The Bible has much to say about gift-giving and Christmas…
Separated from a holy God, we lack peace and to add to our helpless estate, the wages of sin is death! Jesus came that first Christmas as God’s gift of eternal life (Rom.6:23). Jesus was ‘born to die that we might live, He came to earth new life to give’. Christmas is further proof that God is loving and giving, faithful and forgiving. God knew our greatest need so he gave us the perfect gift in the person of Jesus. We usually don’t see a person as a gift and take people for granted. Yet, thinking about it, interpersonal relationships are the most valuable gifts one can have and needs to cherish. Peace, goodwill and a quality of life are ours for the asking and by receiving Jesus as personal Savior.
Having said that, isn’t Christmas a time for exchanging gifts? God who graciously gave us a priceless gift deserves something in return. But what gift can we possibly give our Creator and Redeemer that is appropriate and that he would desire! If the best gifts are always relational not just transactional, then the perfect gift you can give anyone is yourself. This thesis was modeled and demonstrated in the Incarnation that first Christmas when God gave himself to us in the person of Jesus. Those who gratefully receive this ‘incomparable’ gift find it ‘unspeakable’, i.e. there is no language to express its true worth! (2Cor.9:15). The Bible unpacks what the best gift is that we humans can give God in response to his gift of life due to Christ’s death and resurrection. It is ‘to present our bodies a living sacrifice’ and it clarifies that such a gift ‘is good, pleasing and perfect’ to God (Rom.12:1-2).
What can I give Jesus, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I’d bring him a lamb! If I were a wiseman, I will do my part, I know what I’ll give him, the love of all my heart!
Have you personally received the best gift ever given? Have you given God the perfect gift of yourself? Let me leave you with two more thoughts this season: People who do not have the gift of Christmas in their heart, will never find the perfect gift under a tree or elsewhere. And, for those who have Christ in thier hearts, Christmas time or anytime is the perfect time to share with others the best gift of all – Jesus. There has been only one Christmas; the rest are anniversaries! God’s salvation is a gift that keeps on giving!