Have you ever been given a gift, only to have someone get angry with you, and take it back? Perhaps the gift was offered up again later, but you were required to do something the giver wanted you to do, before the giver would present it to you. Is it a gift?
No. This is a game.
Have you ever been given a gift, but you weren’t quite sure if the giver really meant for you to keep it, because the giver was making you jump through hoops in order to receive it? The hoops were on the giver’s terms. They were very small hoops, and only the giver would decide if you had jumped through enough of them to get your prize. Is it a gift?
No. It is an offer, with strings attached.
Have you ever been given a gift, which paled in comparison to gifts others were receiving at the same kind of celebration? It was blatantly obvious that your peers and siblings opened packages containing items of similar value, or items suited to their distinct personalities. However, your package contained something completely opposite; perhaps much cheaper, or an item which purposely misrepresented your character and interests. Is it a gift?
No. It is favoritism towards others, and a complete disregard for your feelings, and you, as a unique individual.
Have you ever been given a gift, which came with the gong of a loud announcement, focusing attention on the giver? Or perhaps you received something expensive, but upon closer inspection the item was broken or fake. Maybe a higher-priced retail sticker was purposely left attached to an item which was actually bought on clearance. Is it a gift?
No. It is a dishonest ploy, often accompanied by guilt, where someone’s key motivation is to look good in front of other people.
Have you ever been told you would be getting a gift, yet finally realized it was never going to delivered? You were told about this gift time and again, but the delivery date kept getting changed, along with the details as to what would be inside the box. Is it a gift?
No. It is a broken promise. It is a manipulative tactic, used by the giver to control you, and to remain within your good graces.
Have you ever been given a gift, yet resigned yourself to leaving the box on the doorstep, because you knew in your hearts of hearts, the box was empty? Is it a gift?
No. It is pretty packaging. It is worth nothing. It is better left alone.
How disappointing! Does this mean there are no gifts under the tree for you to open, since so many gifts are not really gifts at all? Of course not! Many of us have been blessed to receive good gifts, and we also enjoy giving good gifts to family, friends, and even strangers! But some people are left lacking when it comes to gift giving time. Also, because life is imperfect, people are sometimes left unable to give good gifts, through no fault of their own. The silver lining is that God has good gifts for everyone, and His generosity goes beyond the borders of what anyone giver on earth can do! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1: 17 New International Version).
God’s greatest gift, is salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is omniscient. He blesses each one of us with both spiritual gifts and earthly provisions, according to His infinite wisdom; which is beyond our understanding. God is THE good and perfect gift giver. God does not play games or attach strings. He makes promises grounded in truth, and He keeps them. God loves us all, and doesn’t play favorites, which is why His greatest, most immeasurable gift, is available to everyone. God foretold the coming of His wondrous gift, by sending his angel, Gabriel, to announce the good news: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21).
God’s most amazing gift didn’t come at all in fancy packaging, but it was completely filled with love! God’s regal gift arrived from Heaven in the form of a beautiful innocent baby boy. Baby King Jesus was born in a lowly, dirty stable, surrounded by the offensive smell of cattle and sheep. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’ ” ( Luke 2: 11-12).
But a gift, isn’t a gift, until it’s been accepted and received. Will you receive Jesus Christ into your heart today, ask forgiveness for your sins, and give your life over to him? This Christmas, will you share this eternal gift with others who need to know Jesus? Their very lives depend on it. Open your gift of Jesus, and thank God for the baby born to save you! “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
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