Have you received that Gift?
In the spirit of Christmas, I want you to imagine saving up for a whole year to buy a very special gift for someone you dearly love. Imagine that you sacrifice doing a lot of things you really enjoy all year long in order to put your extra money toward that gift. Maybe you skip going to the movies with friends and don't eat out as much, or buy those shoes you really want, even though they are now on sale. Buying this gift for your loved one means that much to you, and you can't wait until the day you are able to buy it.
The day finally arrives. You have enough money to purchase that special gift and you do so with great joy as you imagine your loved one opening that gift. You even pay to have it wrapped in the most beautiful and expensive wrapping paper.
Christmas day comes and you make your way to your loved one's house where many are gathering this year. When you arrive, you walk into the house, exchange a few hugs and niceties, as the aroma and sounds of Christmas embrace your senses. You proudly carry your gift over to the tree where the other gifts are and set it down; anticipating the moment your loved one will open your gift.
You walk into the kitchen and over to your loved one, the hostess this year. You greet and hug her while she hands you a warm cup of her special eggnog. She knows that you always buy her the most thoughtful gifts and so she begins her subtle inquisition about this year’s gift, winking and smiling, gently nudging you with her elbow all the while. Because you're so excited about it yourself, you can't help but hint at what is in the box. She sees the sparkle in your eyes…your excitement over giving her this gift, so she continues with her inquiries. You end up telling her more than you intended and even let it slip that you saved up all year in order to buy her that gift. You are certain that this is the best gift you've ever given her. Your joy will be complete when she opens that gift.
After the Christmas meal and after the dishes are done, everyone gathers in the living room to begin the gift exchange. You secretly hope that your loved one will open your gift first, or very soon because you’ve waited all year for this moment, and you can hardly wait a minute longer. But instead, not only does she not open your gift first, she doesn’t open it second or even last. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t open your gift at all. When all the gifts under the tree have been handed out and opened, your gift to her is the only one still sitting under the tree. Since she's the hostess this year, she is the one playing “Santa” and the one handing out all the gifts. Every time her name comes around and she opens a gift from someone else, you watch as she goes on and on about it, knowing that the gift you bought her would be of far more value to her if she would just open it. You keep thinking that maybe she’s saving it for last because she knows it will be the best one of all.
But, alas, after every gift has been handed out and opened, after all the wrapping paper picked up and thrown away, and as the other guests exchange hugs and say their goodbyes, you make your way into the kitchen where your loved one is putting away the last of the dishes. You ask her while trying to hide your disappointment, why your gift is still sitting under the tree, unopened. You want to know why she chose to open all the other gifts but not yours. Without any real explanation, she says that she isn’t ready. She says that she appreciates your thoughtfulness, your sacrifice, and all the love that went into that gift but that she just isn’t ready to receive it...yet. She assures you that she will, “one day”.
You are beside yourself. This makes no sense, you think. Why would anyone do that?
How would you feel if that happened to you?
I know how it would make me feel. It would crush my spirit. It would steal my joy! Steal the blessing to my loved one, which in turn, would steal my blessing. It would make me sad, and if I'm honest, it would probably make me mad. It would most certainly hurt me deeply. It would hurt because I would know what she is missing by not fully receiving my sacrificial gift to her. I might feel as though she doesn't love me, and doesn't appreciate or value the sacrifice I made all year long, even though she said she did. It would affect our relationship, our fellowship for sure, all because she wouldn’t treceive the gift I gave her. It's one thing for me to "give" her that gift, but it is another for her to truly "receive" it.
The woman in the story knew the gift was under the tree. She knew the gift was for her; it had her name on it. She even knew a lot about the gift inside the box and the sacrifices that were made by the giver of the gift because she asked a lot of questions. But she never truly “received" the gift that was given to her by someone who loved her dearly. Instead, she left it sitting on the floor, wrapped up, under the tree.
Friend – I must tell you this Christmas season, there is a GIFT that God has given to the whole world, but not everyone has received it. That GIFT is His Son, Jesus Christ. The greatest Gift this world has ever known.
The Bible says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
It also says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift”. 2 Corinthians 9:15.
I can’t help but wonder how God must feel when people know about His Gift to us - Jesus Christ, but never “receive” Him.
I dare not pretend to know how God may or may not "feel" about anything, but I do believe, based on His Word, that it breaks His heart when people reject His Son because it is the only way they can be reconciled to God and receive the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life. As a twenty-seven-year-old, I sat in the church for two years, hearing all about Jesus before I actually received Him as my Savior and made Him Lord of my life.
There are many people in the world who don't know about God's Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and it is our job as Christians to tell them - to take that Gift to the world so that they can receive Him.
But the sad thing is, there are many people IN the Church today, who know all about God's Gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, who have never truly received Him as their own. They know what the Bible says about Jesus. They are familiar with The Gift of God, sitting under the proverbial "Christmas tree", and some may even believe intellectually that Jesus is the one and only Son of the living God, but they've never made a profession of faith - they've never professed with their mouth He is Lord. The bible says, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." James 2:19.
You see friend, it is not enough to know "about" Jesus, or to just "believe" intellectually that He IS the one and only Son of God.
In order to be born again, to truly "receive" the Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, we must, each one of us, come to a place where we realize we are a sinner in need of a Savior; repent of our sins, ask Jesus to forgive us and to come into our lives, to save us and be our Lord. We must actually take the Gift of God in hand, receive Him as our own and thank God for Him - Jesus Christ!
But guess what friend! It doesn't stop there.
Many Christians, unfortunately, who have received the Gift of salvation through Christ, have never opened the Gift to see what is inside. They have in essence, taken The Gift and tucked it away in a closet or under their bed, without ever opening it to see what all is inside. They have "eternal life", yes, but they are not living the abundant life Christ came to give them, today and every day. And they keep wondering to themselves, "Is this all there is to The Gift?"
Even if the woman in the story above, had actually picked up the gift, thanked the giver for it, but soon after, went to her room, slid it under her bed or tucked it away in her closet, she would not be enjoying the fullness of that gift. She would only have received the gift itself. And the giver of that gift would never experience the fullness of his/her joy, knowing that their loved one had never even opened the gift.
It is the same with our relationship with Jesus. When we receive the Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Bible says, "...we shall not perish but have eternal life." Praise God for that! If we received nothing else from God, that would be enough. But friend - praise God - that is not all we get when we receive Jesus as our Savior. He wants to be Lord in our lives so that we can experience the fullness of The Gift...the Person of Jesus Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. He wants us to live the abundant life He intended for each of us to live. “…I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.
The Gift of Jesus Christ - IS The Gift that keeps on giving
Eternal Life doesn't begin when we die. Eternal life begins when we accept the Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. For "in Him" we have life...now and for eternity.
The Gift of salvation through Christ is just the beginning of our faith journey. God wants us to not only "receive" His Gift to us, but to OPEN The Gift daily and enjoy the many gifts within The Gift, and they are never-ending. God's Word tells us that His love, grace, and mercy is new every day.
The Gift of Christ in us brings LOVE, JOY, and PEACE, to name a few! A love that is not comparable to this world's version of "love". A joy that is not contingent upon our circumstances and a peace that this world cannot give or understand!
Oh, friend, I pray that in this season of giving and receiving gifts, that you have truly received the most important, precious Gift you could ever receive - the Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. For it is because of His birth that we even celebrate Christmas - for He truly is God's Gift to the world.
Have you received Him and His Gift of salvation? If not, you can. Right now. Right where you are. He's just waiting for you to take Him by the hand - thank God the Father for Him and make Him your own. But remember, He wants you to open The Gift daily, and enjoy the MANY gifts within The Gift, so that you can live the abundant life Christ came to offer all who would receive Him.
"Father God, I thank you for giving us the Indescribable Gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. Emmanuel - God with us. Thank you that through Him we can have the gift of salvation for eternal life. But Father, I thank you also that His salvation is saving us day by day, moment by moment. I pray Father God, that you teach us to "open" The Gift every single day, so that, through your Holy Spirit in us, we can enjoy the fullness of the benefits we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. And in so doing, we will bring You honor and joy and glorify Your Son - the greatest Gift this world has ever known."
If you want to know more about receiving the greatest Gift ever given - go to this website to learn more - https://peacewithgod.net
[Thoughts from this post are from a book I'm writing entitled, The GIFT...that keeps on giving ]