Ready or not, the season of gift giving is upon us. Christmas is the perfect holiday for people like me who delight in giving. We’ve shopped for the perfect gifts and can’t wait to watch each loved one as they open them. The anticipation of seeing their expressions and hoping that this is the year we’ve wowed them is one of my greatest thrills. I love to dream of giving that indescribable moment when my gift causes their heart to skip a beat and leaves them speechless. With children, that isn’t such a hard task. They delight in just tearing off the wrapping paper. But we adults tend to be more cynical and let’s face it, harder to please. Maybe it comes from years of receiving those ‘not so desirable’ gifts and having to fake our pleasure. You know the ones I mean. When the adage, it’s the thought that counts, makes it even worse. Because you have to wonder, “Do they really think that about me?”
I understand in these tough economic times that practical and conservative gifts are best. I know food given to those who can’t pay their bills is better than giving them a dancing Santa with singing reindeer or even a nativity snow globe. I just want practical to also have a thrill. I want to give gifts like my Heavenly Father does. I want them to meet the immediate need, to reach beyond to the unseen needs, and in the process leave the receiver breathless with awe. Every gift He’s ever given is indescribable; especially that little babe in the manger born 2,000 years ago to a people hurting from oppression, poverty, and hopelessness.
It would have been enough to meet their immediate need if He had sent a mighty warrior to conquer their enemies and establish a peaceful ruling government. It would have been enough to meet even our needs today if He would have guaranteed that a peaceful reign would never end. Can you just imagine the past 2,000 years being filled with peace in all the nations of Earth? Now that’s a gift.
It would have been enough to meet their unseen needs if He had also given that ruling family the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and power, knowledge and a delight to walk in the fear of God Himself. Such a ruler would judge with righteousness and justice. There would be no suffering, sorrow, or discrimination. The whole earth would know only wholeness and well-being. Now that sounds like the perfect gift to end the wickedness of hatred from our lives.
It would have been enough to leave them breathless if He had also given them Himself. What if He had guaranteed that His presence, attributes and character would abound in that first leader as well as in each of his heirs throughout time? They would possess enduring compassion to love their people. They could have a fatherly heart that would protect and provide for the people as if we were their own children. This truly would have been a gift that would have awed.
Yes, I would’ve marveled at such a gift: the promise of peace, love, security, comfort, justice and all these being forever. And yet my God gave all that…and more. That little babe in the manger wasn’t just a man empowered to do all these great things. My God selflessly gave Himself to us in the person of His Son. God put on human flesh and became our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. That would have been enough but He didn’t stop there. He saw beyond our immediate need and became our Savior. Why? Because He knew that death still ruled and even if we lived in peace and justice there would come a day when we would have to die. He loves us too much to allow death to separate us from Him for all eternity. He became Jesus to save us from our sin and to conquer death and the grave. But He didn’t stop there. In that one gift of a child He also gave a promise of power to all who would believe. (Acts 1:4) The gift of salvation guarantees the gift of resurrection power.
Are you breathless yet? You should be. It wasn’t enough for Almighty God to be all we need now and all we would ever need. No, He gave all of Himself so that we could become one with Him. He didn’t want us to live our lives dependent upon another human to protect us, love us, and control us. His gift fills us with all the power and authority that is in Him so that we can really live. We can live like Jesus lived.
He said “I am the Light of the World” and He named us “The light of the world.”
He said “I have overcome the world” and He told us “we are more than conquerors.”
He was the sinless One and His word says “no one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”
His gift thrills. His gift keeps on giving. His gift of Jesus is indescribable. But I’m not finished yet because it’s still more amazing. Every true believer has the ability to pass this gift on. We can show our gratitude for His selfless gift by telling the world about Jesus. The gift of Jesus never ends as long as there is still a lost, hurting soul on this earth. Now that’s the ultimate gift.
This Christmas, give like the Father gives.