I love to give gifts. I am an all year around Christmas shopper. As I spend time with my children, I will take note of something they mention as a want or a need. Then when they are not with me, I will run to the department store to purchase the item and store it away until Christmas. This simply drives my children nuts. They always say to me, “How did you remember?” I always reply. Do you think I don’t pay attention or listen to you?
Of course, I must be honest. As I am getting everything ready for the big day. I go through my purchased gifts, and frankly, I am astonished of the things I purchased months ago. Nonetheless, gift giving gives me so much joy.
As I am wrapping my gifts with beautiful paper and adorning them with ribbons and bows. My mind begins to ponder on Christmas and the gift giving tradition. Many of us are giving gifts out of tradition and don't really question where all this began. We may believe it all began with the Magi bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. I hate to mess up your vision of Christmas, but the Magi arrived two years later to Jesus’ house and not the manger according to Matthew.
Nonetheless, those gifts are of importance, and many scholars believe that the gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh are representative of life of Christ. The gold might have represented His deity, while the incense might have represented the fragrance of His life, and myrrh was a burial ointment that might have been given to represent the ultimate reason for His coming to earth, His death and resurrection. Yes, I do believe those three gifts are of great significance, but they are not the reason for Christmas and gift giving.
I pray you understand that gift giving didn’t begin with Santa Claus or St. Nicholas of Myra. It was God, Himself who gave the first gift at Christmas. He gave His son to redeem us. He knew exactly what we needed. We didn’t need to mention our depraved state. Oh no, He knew we needed to be redeemed from ourselves, and our sin.
Therefore, some 800 years prior to the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied…Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (ESV)
Look closely at the wording. It is not by chance, but precise wording on what God planned to do. It was a child that was born, but a Son given. Yes, He sent His Son as a child to give us salvation. Christ coming to earth, dying, and rising from the dead is our hope for salvation. This salvation is a gift and the greatest gift given to mankind, for it is the gift of eternal life. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Friend, gifts are never earned, they are given.
However, the only way to receive this gift of grace is to come to God with repentance. Repentance is not only confessing our sins to Him, but we must turn away from anything that keeps us from the Lord. We choose to live for Christ, to follow Christ. Following Christ consists of living a life totally devoted to Him. In other words, it is not our will but His. I pray you have been with God and have shared your heart with Him.
He desires to give you His Son, but that is just the beginning of the story. Believe me, He is a God who loves to give gifts and good ones at that. He knows what we need before we ask. He is Christ, the gift that keeps on giving. The best gift is the gift of love, and He gives His love so freely to all.
Therefore, let the gift of eternal life reign in you. It is the gift of Christmas.