December 2017 - The Greatest Gift of All
The Gift of Love
Do you enjoy giving and receiving gifts at Christmas? It doesn't matter if the treasure is a big box all wrapped up in festive Christmas wrapping paper, a child's elementary school art project spray painted in gold and sprinkled with glitter, a special trinket nestled inside a gift bag billowing with colorful tissue paper or a small, black, velvet box from a favorite jewelry store. We all get excited about giving and receiving gifts. The tradition of gift-giving at Christmas has been practiced for centuries commemorating the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh the Three Wise Men gave the Christ Child when they came to worship Him.
Think a little more about the process of giving gifts. That someone would think enough of you to give you a gift, is quite a humbling practice. True gift-giving is not only about the gift, it is much more about the intent behind the gift. From a generous heart, the giver desires to show how much the recipient is thought of, loved, and appreciated. Precious time is spent considering what to give. Then when the moment comes to present the gift, the giver’s heart is filled with great anticipation, and the recipient’s heart is filled with great joy.
When someone presented you with a gift you thought was too extravagant, have you ever been tempted to say, “You shouldn’t have! I don’t deserve this.” If you have ever felt that way, you’d be right, because true gifts are never deserved or earned. A gift is bestowed. Gifts are granted based on love and generosity.
In the same way, salvation in Jesus Christ is the greatest gift a person could ever receive. Ephesians 2:8-9 says,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift from God - not by works so that no man can boast.”
There is no way you could ever do enough or be good enough to earn God’s favor. No matter how hard you try, you could never repay Jesus for laying down His life as a sacrifice for your sin. You could never go to church enough, or pray enough, or pay enough to earn the gift of God’s love. Hallelujah! Jesus paid it all! Because of Jesus, you don’t get what you deserve, which is death (Romans 6:23). You get what Jesus deserves: extreme love, extraordinary favor, extravagant gifts, and everlasting life are all yours with no strings attached. (John 3:16)
Our mothers taught us when someone presents us with a gift, regardless of the size or expense, your immediate response should be, “Thank you!” Then, you receive the gift with gratitude, take the gift with you, and put it to use. Likewise, not only are we to express our thanks to God with words, we are to express our thanks by the way we live – through thanks-living. Then we are to take the gift of God’s love with us everywhere we go and put God’s love to use in our lives by being a blessing to others.
This Christmas, remember that the greatest gift of Christmas was not under a tree but on it. God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus who wrapped himself in flesh and became one of us so we could become like him. Jesus gave his life as the supreme sacrifice and was crucified on a cross for our sins so we could be forgiven and free.
As you participate in the tradition of gift-giving this Christmas, remember that the most wonderful gift of all, salvation through Jesus Christ, is just a prayer away. If you have never prayed to receive the gift of eternal life, pray a simple heartfelt prayer to invite Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior. Use this simple prayer as a guide or pray a prayer on your own.
I admit I am a sinner. Please forgive me of the sins I have committed. I believe in Jesus and confess him as Savior and Lord. I surrender my life to you now. Thank you for saving me.
God loves you to the greatest extent. In fact, you are God’s favorite. He loves you just as much as he loves his Son Jesus, according to John 17:23. That is not only the greatest news of all, it is the greatest gift of all.
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