Who do you expect to receive gifts from this Christmas?
Your spouse, if you’re married? Your parents, if they’re still with you? Your children? Other close relatives? Your co-workers? Your neighbors? Your friends at church? Your best friend?
What about those gifts? How often do you have to return a gift?
Have you ever received a gift that was the wrong size? The wrong color?
Have you ever received a gift that you had no idea where to put it?
Have you ever received a gift that truthfully you couldn’t figure out what it was or even why someone would give it to you?
Have you ever received a gift that you already had? Maybe two or three of them?
Have you ever received a gift that you didn’t want. . .but you couldn’t return for fear of hurting someone’s feelings so it was relegated to the back of your closet, the attic or the garage?
How often do you receive the perfect gift? Can you remember one thing you received last Christmas?
Let me tell you about a gift that will never disappoint you. . .one that you will never return. . .one that you will treasure forever. Not only that, you don’t have to buy this gift. . .it’s free.
Ecclesiastes 3:13 says:
“And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”
The ability to eat, drink and work is a gift . . . did you realize that?
According to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word for gift is H4991 and it means:
H4991 comes from the root word “mattan” H4976 which means:
“gifts, offerings, presents”
Now let’s look a little further in the Message Bible translation of Ecclesiastes 5:19 which says:
“Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It's useless to brood over how long we might live.”
Anticipating the gifts that will be received at Christmas is a big part of a child’s joy. But think about the many and varied and perfect gifts we receive from God.
James 1:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].”
God is the greatest gift giver of all. He gave us the ultimate gift. . .His Son to die for our sins that we might have life. . .eternal and abundant. It is in fact, that gift that we’re celebrating this Christmas season. Or are we?
Sadly, our society has allowed other things to become the focus of Christmas. In fact, many people seek to remove Christ from Christmas . . . how absurd! That’s something they’ll never be able to do. . .as long as we allow Him to live boldly in our lives.
Have you ever given a gift that you thought was really special? A gift that you spent a lot of time picking out . . . a gift that was expensive. . .or perhaps painstakingly prepared with love, or one that is perhaps life changing? Yet the recipient of your gift. . .didn’t seem to fully appreciate just how precious the gift they’d been given really is?
If so, you know how your Heavenly Father feels about His precious gift . . . given to redeem His people. Jesus came into the world . . . but the world received Him not (John 1:11).
Yet God gave to us. . .the precious Christ child, His only begotten Son, Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:15 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]!”
The New Living Translation says: “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
God has given us the gift of eternal life. John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Our Heavenly Father has also given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is one gift from our Heavenly Father that will never fade, go out of style or break.
The really cool thing about God’s gifts is that they expand our abilities to achieve His purpose on planet earth. The Message Bible translation of Ephesians 3:7-8 says:
“This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.”
I love that last sentence. . . “God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.” Now that’s what I call a real gift.
God also gives us the gift of righteousness. Romans 5:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”
The great news is that you don’t have to buy the gifts of God. . .in fact, you can’t, even if you wanted to. God’s gifts are freely given.
Acts 8:20 says:
“But Peter said to him, Destruction overtake your money and you, because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money!”
In fact, the Contemporary English Version of Acts 8:20 says:
“Peter said to him, "You and your money will both end up in hell if you think you can buy God's gift!”
There is so much more that can be said about the gifts of God. . .we could talk extensively about the nine gifts of the spirit. . .but we’ll cover that on another day.
On this day, it’s important to understand that we’ll never find the gifts of God in colorful boxes with neatly tied bows . . . but we should still thrill and be excited about every one that God lovingly offers to us.
Charles Dickens, the author of Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Cooperfield and A Chistmas Carol said:
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
We need to remember that Jesus is not only the reason for the season. . .but He’s the reason. . .we receive the gift of life. . .more abundantly and eternally. That’s truly something we should celebrate all year.
If you’ve read the book or seen the movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” you may remember this very powerful statement.
“Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”
Truthfully, it means a whole lot more to me and to you. . .it’s the greatest gift a person can receive.
Let’s be sure we are sharing this great gift ever known to man during this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS