When my children were young, my wife, Tina, and I would give gifts to them at Christmas that we thought were exceptional and ideally just what they wanted. We were usually as excited as our kiddoes on Christmas mornings because we couldn’t wait to see the blown-away, grateful looks on their little cherub faces when opening their gifts.
Tina was motivated in all this out of sheer unmitigated, selfless love for her children.
I, on the other hand, gave killer gifts to my children because I knew those gifts would score big with them, causing them forever to be. . . well. . . eternally in my debt. You know, thinking ahead for future purposes, when I will expect the little guys, then all grown-up, to pay back their indebtedness by taking care of dear old, gift-giving dad in my declining, golden years.
Ok, ok, don’t judge me! If you’re a parent, you’ve been there; you know what I’m talking about.
I know what you’re thinking, “With that approach to your children, how can you possibly live with yourself?’ Well, I’m here to tell you, it isn’t easy!
Any who, occasionally we saw some of those thrilled looks on our kid’s faces while opening their yuletide presents. But, more often than not. . . not so much! Sometimes they would barely unwrap one gift before pushing it aside and moving on to the next one, anticipated to be bigger and better than the one before. Sometimes they would unwrap the gift, but play with the bows, boxes, or wrapping paper, instead of the gift itself!
To say the least, after anticipating such a good emotional return on our investment in Christmas gift giving, we were a bit disappointed in our children’s less-than-enthusiastic responses. Maybe you have been there.
I know God has.
God gave the perfect, exceptional, killer Christmas gift 2,000 years ago in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Quite a gift!
Jesus, being eternal God took on human flesh forever, being born of a virgin in the lowliest of circumstances as God’s exceptional, mind-blowing, perfect present to the world. God gave us the perfect gift, who lived the perfect life, to die a cruel death on a Roman cross, and arise supernaturally from the dead. This was done to pay for the sins of the world, a world God so amazingly loves, so that all who accept the gift of Jesus may have eternal life now and forever (John 3:16)!
The gift is naturally free for the taking by faith alone through God’s amazing grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9).
Like my children who routinely rifled through their Christmas gifts, many reject God’s perfect free gift by pushing it aside for other life gift options, which are really not free gifts at all but come at enormous cost and great pain. Or in similar fashion to my children opening their presents, many others simply entertain the trappings, the bows, boxes, and wrappings of the gift of the Gospel without ever truly exploring, contemplating, and receiving the gift of Jesus Christ.
I hope you have received Jesus, the indescribable gift of God” (2 Cor. 9:15; John 4:10) and the eternal life that comes with a relationship with Him (Rom. 6:23). In addition, I hope you take the gift of eternal life out of the gift box and the accessories that come with it (i.e. your personalized spiritual gift or gifts), and not neglect them (1 Tim. 4:14), but develop them (2 Tim. 1:6) and use them for God’s glory (1 Pet. 4:10). Furthermore, I pray you will share the free gift of eternal life during this holiday season and beyond with any who will accept it (Rev. 22:17).
Like parents who look with excited anticipation for that blown-away, grateful expression on their children’s faces on Christmas mornings, so God looks on with that same mentality as we, His children, open, use, and share the gift of eternal life that He so freely gives us in Jesus Christ.
If you haven’t already, go ahead and put a smile on God’s face! What are you waiting for?