The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. – Charles Dudley Warner
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, it was such an exciting time. Christmas trees would go up; decorations put on; Christmas music would be played everywhere; houses would have light displays. School would even be tolerable what with the treats, parties, movies and Christmas crafts we’d do. Good times.
And then as Christmas slowly approached (remember when time dragged on?) and presents began to appear under our tree, I would wrack my brain trying to figure out what was in all those brightly wrapped gifts. Unicorns? Fairy dust? Glass slippers? A magic mirror? A magical wand? A beautiful pumpkin carriage? What??
I also remember the first time there were actual fist fights in stores over the latest and greatest Christmas item, a Cabbage Patch Doll. It was nuts. Grown adults literally duking it out with each other over a doll. The doll wasn’t particularly exciting either but everyone just had to have one. Since then, Christmas shopping has become a full contact sport, and stores combat zones as people shove and elbow their way to the coveted items on the shelves.
I’m not quite sure what has become of the Christmas spirit but clearly we have some deep-seated expectations particularly when it comes to the gifts we give and receive…
Have you ever received a present that was clearly because the giver felt obligated to get you something? Yeah, me too. And when you unwrapped the gift, you had this stunned “huh?” look on your face and then you tried to quickly recover with some sort of response like, “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” (because really, they shouldn’t have).
Honestly, it makes me uncomfortable at the idea of getting a gift from someone simply because they felt like they had to. I never want someone to feel obligated towards me. I guess it’s because I view gift-giving not so much about the gift per se, but more about an expression of how and what I think of the person I’m giving the gift; what they mean to me.
Have you ever received a gift like that? Something so special that when you open it, you instantly get this warm, fuzzy feeling all over, or it brings you to tears? Not simply because of the gift but because you know that person put a lot of thought into it; because they really get you, care about you, cherish you, love you and they showed it with that gift. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Christmas, true Christmas, is about that kind of gift except that it’s not one you can buy in a store or purchase online during Black Monday at prime pricing with free shipping. No, this particular gift is set apart from all the rest. It’s priceless. It’s timeless. It’s infallible. It’s relevent; never out of style. And it comes with accessories like patience, kindness, grace and peace. It is, in a word, perfect. This gift has been around since the beginning of time but made its grand debut about 2,000 years ago and has been around ever since. What is this awesome, incredible, perfectly fantabulous gift? Love. Love in the flesh, straight from Heaven, sent by God just for us. He gave us Jesus!
See? I told you it was a perfectly fantabulous gift. I can unequivocally say there is no greater gift, no greater joy, no greater expectation, no greater satisfaction, no greater anything than God’s love for us through Jesus.
All the shopping, baking, decorating, holly decking, partying, gift-wrapping, gift-giving, gift-getting, ugly sweater-wearing, and musicing (yes, I made that up) could ever compete with the gift of Love. Love, Jesus, is just too perfect for anything else to come close.
If you’ve received it already, renew it; there’s an irrevocable, lifetime guarantee. No expiration, no hidden fees, no limits, and no certain-conditions-apply. If you’ve not received it, get it. Accept God’s perfect Gift, His love for you. Say YES to the Gift! That’s it. That’s all you have to do. No dotted line-signing, no down payment, no APR, no financing, no low-percentage pay back, no limited-time offer, and most especially, no qualifying. There is only one request: Love Him back.
Love Him back and watch your life transform into something wunderbar! Just one bit of clarification, though that I feel I must divulge: this wonderful life of yours will not transform into eating rainbows and pooping butterflies. No one’s life ever has, is or will be. Life will still have its ups and downs; its triumphs and disappointments; its successes and failures. But on the upside your life will have a peace that surpasses all understanding; you will experience inexpressible and glorious joy and a no greater love; you will always have comfort and help in times of trouble from a loving Heavenly Father who is tender and compassionate towards you. You just have to say yes to the Gift!
Say yes to the Gift, and discover, or rediscover, what true Christmas is: To be blessed; to be at peace; to be joyful; to be compassionate; to be full of hope; to be of goodwill towards others; to have no greater love. To be transformed….to be gifted in Love.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Psalm 46:1-2
The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13