3 days ’til Christmas…if you have children in your house I’m sure they have made you aware of this and are counting down the days and even hours until Christmas morning. Many of them will be so excited to see the surprises waiting for them under the tree that they won’t be able to sleep the night before. Gifts have been a big part of celebrating Christmas for centuries.
Did that start because of the gifts the wise men gave Jesus, Mary and Joseph when they finally arrived? Did the tradition become more pronounced because of the original Saint Nicholas who gave anonymous gifts to needy people by dropping small bags of coins or other treasures down their chimneys? It actually was started by God, the original and best gift giver of all time. He offered His Son, out of love, and continues to give good gifts to his children. He is the most generous, creative, and recklessly lavish giver.
Imagine your boss left gifts for you and all your co-workers – hefty cash bonuses for a year’s work well done. Imagine that you hadn’t gotten the memo or heard about it and your co-workers, in their rush to start vacation and get out of the office, forgot to tell you. Your gift would remain locked somewhere in the office, unopened.
What if some prisoners in a concentration camp heard that certain ones were going to be given freedom if they came to a certain place in camp at a specified time. What if they forgot to tell the other prisoners or were afraid to for fear of ridicule or disbelief? Or how crazy would it be to know about that offer of freedom and not take it?
Those of us who know Jesus have received, as Paul put it, an indescribable gift of grace. We have received love that makes dead people alive, gives hope and light and a way out of the dark. If we’ve received it, we need to make sure everyone else knows about it. We’ve received the ultimate kindness. It’s a gift that’s meant for everyone, big enough for everyone, intended for everyone, but unopened and not received by so many.
A few mornings ago I woke up from a dream about a relative of ours who is getting on in years. I dreamed that this person died and I was so upset I couldn’t go back to sleep. I’m pretty sure this person believes in God but hasn’t accepted or received the gift of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. They haven’t made that decision to live in relationship with God. I can’t stand the thought of them dying without knowing Jesus or taking that crucial step. I want them to be in heaven. I certainly don’t want them to die and have to be separated from God for all eternity! I’ve been praying since that dream that God will woo them with his Holy Spirit. I’m also praying He’ll show me somehow how to help make it clear to this one that I love, that God has given them a gift – one they definitely want and need. The awesome thing about God’s gift is that it never expires as long as we’re still breathing. No matter how old we get, we can still choose to pick it up, unwrap it and enjoy it as long as we live here.
Have you heard about and opened this gift? If not, I’m telling you right now that it’s here available for you, meant for you. Believe me, it’s the best and it will change your life for the good forever.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! II Corinthians 9:15 NIV