Well it’s that time of year again, Christmas time! For most people, it’s a special time of year filled with a little more joy, excitement, love and kindness. Maybe in part we feel and behave this way because we’ve learned from our parents that if you don’t behave, you will not get any presents for Christmas. I think most of us who are parents have used this technique, or as children we have had it used on us, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Usually in spite of our children’s behaviors and because of our love for them and hope they will change, we give them their gifts anyway.
As children, we certainly enjoyed receiving gifts, as children still do today. As adults we find a lot of joy in giving gifts and seeing our children and loved ones, whether they are a child or an adult, be blessed by the gifts they receive. And yes, as adults we still like to receive gifts, especially if it’s something we have been in need of. It brings joy to the receiver and the giver of a gift when it is opened and you hear the words, “Thanks, it’s just what I needed!”
This reminds me of the reason we celebrate Christmas. You see, the greatest gift giver of all time, God, our Heavenly Father, of whom the Bible says, is the giver of every good and perfect gift, gave us, mankind, the greatest gift ever. The perfect gift that we were in need of. Out of his great love for us (not because we were behaving well) He gave us His Son – the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time, the One who was born in a manger in Bethlehem. The One who was born to a young virgin named Mary, who was given the name Jesus, is the greatest gift that anyone can ever receive. It was such a great gift, that the giver of the gift, God the Father, could not contain his excitement. And in his great joy, He sent an angel to tell a bunch of shepherds working in the fields. He also sent a multitude of heavenly hosts who appeared to the shepherds and celebrated with them. You see, the giver of this gift, the Heavenly Father, knew this baby would grow up to live a sinless life and then willingly sacrifice his life so that you and I and the whole word can have forgiveness of sin, and a right relationship with God.
But wait, there’s more! He truly is the gift that keeps on giving. This perfect gift, Jesus, brings light to the darkness, he gives hope to the hopeless, help to those in need, strength to the weary, peace to the worried. There is no situation, no problem, no mess that He can’t take care of. This gift can take your hate and give you love, can take your fears and give you faith, can take your sorrow and give you joy. This gift, Jesus, also gives us self-control to break our addictions—addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography or whatever that addiction may be. He gives us gentleness, kindness, goodness to free us from our anger issues and a sound mind to give us wisdom and understanding. Best of all, He gives us a place to live with him in Heaven when we leave this Earth. All of this comes from the perfect gift that God gave to us, that baby born in a manger, what a gift! But just like every gift, in order to enjoy, you must receive it. I pray that if you haven’t received this gift, that this Christmas season you will open up your heart and receive this special gift from the greatest gift giver ever. If you do, like those of us that have, I’m sure you will say to the gift giver, Our Heavenly Father, “Thanks, it’s just what I needed!”