It’s the most wonderful time of the year. In our cars we listen to our favorite Christmas songs while we drive down our beautifully decorated streets. Our homes are draped with lights and garland. Our tree has been meticulously adorned with beautiful ornaments, alongside those special ones that were made by our children in preschool.
Children everywhere anxiously await the arrival of Christmas morning when all the anticipation is finally over. As a child, there is nothing better than Christmas morning, and opening gifts that they have waited for all year. Unfortunately, this is all that Christmas has become to so many; nothing more than an exchanging of gifts without any indication of the real meaning of the season.
The real message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Rather, it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us. The prophet Isaiah foretold of this gift when he said “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Jesus is truly the perfect gift. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
This gift from God is the greatest gift the world has ever known. God issued this wonderful gift from heaven on the very first Christmas thousands of years ago; however, many people still refuse to receive it.
There are a couple of reasons why it is difficult for some people to receive a gift. If a gift is bad it will be incredibly hard to receive it. We all have people in our family who are not the best gift givers. Even though they may search diligently to find you something special, they always seem to fall short of even the lowest expectations.
As you open the gift you feel obligated to say something positive about it. You don’t want to really say how you feel. Maybe it is another ugly sweater you will never wear, maybe it is another fruit cake you will never eat, or maybe it is something that you know will never use; but whatever it is, you know you will not keep it.
Then there is the other reason why it is difficult to receive a gift. If a gift is too good, we feel that we do not deserve it. I have received a few gifts like this that were completely unexpected. It is hard for many to accept these gifts when we know the true value of these.
This is why some people do not accept the gift of Christ. I have heard countless people say that they did not deserve the gift of Jesus. They believed they have been too bad, or lived a life too hard to be a Christian. However, the gift of Christ is not something that anyone can earn or purchase. Ephesians 2:8, 9 addresses this issue of grace by saying, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This gift of grace can only be received.
In this Christmas season there will be many presents exchanged. Consider this year the greatest gift of all; the gift of Jesus. He is the one gift you will not want to exchange. He is the one gift that is the perfect fit for any life. He is the perfect gift. Merry Christmas.
The Rev. Brett L. Davis is an ordained bishop in the Church of God and pastor of East Laurinburg Church of God. Reach him at [email protected]