Who loves presents? I do! What’s not to love? Pretty packages full of surprises. Excitement building with each one as we tear wrapping paper and rip boxes with anticipation. Will we get what we really wanted?
Manners go out the window when it comes to opening gifts.
Especially at Christmas. We’re like kids again. Hoping for that one present we had our heart set on. Eyeing the boxes, and noticing there’s one over in the corner. Too big for one person to carry. Is that for us?
When I was growing up, the first order of business on Christmas day was opening stockings. We usually got things like oranges and candy from “Santa”. My sisters and I were always anxious to get to the presents. After stockings, we each had several small gifts to open. My favorites were horse statues for my collection, and there were usually games, books and records too. But when I was about ten years old there was a big gift.
Back behind the tree. All by itself. And it had my name on it.
Would it be the gift of a lifetime? Was it a saddle for the pony I so desperately wanted? Was it a dog bed for the puppy I had been begging for?
Would this be the year? Would the annual gift of flannel pajamas be replaced by something grand? Something amazing? Something I would remember for the rest of my life?
Not so much. To my dismay it wasn’t the gift of a lifetime. It was a white suitcase. No saddle. No dog bed. Nothing in the suitcase. Just a suitcase.
I was crushed. My one big gift of a lifetime was a letdown. And it was all I could do to say “thank you” as disappointment washed over me. It wasn’t what I wanted and it showed. My parents saw their gift as a an accompaniment to new adventures. I saw it as an empty suitcase.
I wonder if God looks at us the same way my parents must have looked at me that day.
God gives us so many good gifts. Sometimes they’re amazing, like a new job, an opportunity to travel, or a close group of friends. Sometimes they’re things we take for granted, like a warm bed and pillow to sleep on, a family who loves us, a huge holiday meal with leftovers, or money to pay our bills. Sometimes we don’t even think of blessings as gifts, like our health, the ability to run and play, or the freedom to sing Christmas carols and go to Christmas eve services.
Each day it’s as if we open gift after gift from God, looking to see what’s next. We tear through the wrapping paper of this one, we run on to the next one. We may or may not remember to thank God for each gift. We’re like kids without manners. But even still, our Father loves us and He’s so excited. Because there’s one more present He has to give. The last big gift He’s been waiting for us to open. It’s not health or wealth. It’s not a new family member or pet. It’s not a promotion. It’s God. He’s giving us Himself. He’s giving us Jesus.
God wants us to receive the greatest gift of all. He paid a huge price for it. He’s so excited for us to accept it. But He won’t force us to take it. He’s waiting to see our reaction.
Jesus is the last big gift.
Regardless of our current situation, God lovingly provides and protects us when we humbly turn to Him. And among all of the gifts that God so lavishly showers on each one of us, there is one big gift that He is most excited to give us. Himself.
Merry Christmas, my friends! I pray that the peace and joy of the season will fill you this Christmas. I can’t wait to hear from you in the new year!
“‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’” John 3:16 (ESV)
May I pray?
Jesus, You are the last big gift. The one that, after all of the smaller gifts and blessings are opened, God sets before us and says, “Now open this one.” Thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank You for reaching out to us so that we can know You. Thank You for the huge price You paid to give us freedom and new life. Lord, I pray a special blessing upon my sisters and brothers reading this today. May they be renewed by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and may the wonder of Christmas fill them with hope and peace. In Your holy, precious Name I pray. Amen.
Q4U: How will you respond this Christmas to God’s last big gift to you?