Christmas Presence 12-10-18

I do enjoy the Christmas season. I like Christmas lights and decorations. I like giving and receiving gifts. It has always been for me a wonderful time of the year. The thought of Christmas gifts has been and still is a source of excitement. I get pleasure from seeing people open their presents and to be honest opening those given to me. One year I received from my wife, Krista, the gift of a framed picture of our three children. It still is one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. What the picture represented was so much more than a photo it was a celebration of our family and the continued blessings of God in our daily lives.

A gift is defined in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary, my favorite dictionary, as follows:

GIFT, n. [from give.] A present; any thing given or bestowed; any thing, the property of which is voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation; a donation. It is applicable to any thing movable or immovable.

A gift is voluntarily transferred (passed on) to another without compensation (reimbursement). This selfless act is what makes a gift so special. This is why we call the act of God that first Christmas a gift. What a fantastic gift God gave us that first Christmas!

It is amazing that an event that occurred over 2,000 years ago has a real impact on each and every one of our lives. This is made crystal clear through the very words of Christ recorded in Hebrews where we read His actual words as He entered the world. Jesus states in Hebrews 10 how He came into the world to fulfill the type of sacrifice that God demanded. Christ became fully human so that He could offer Himself. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. When Christ came into the world, the Spirit prepared for Him a body, and He was completely dedicated to and dependent on His Father’s will. That body would be sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world, your sins, and mine.

God’s purpose for creating each of us is to live in a loving relationship with Him. Our problem is that our wrongness (sin) keeps us from naturally experiencing this relationship. God’s remedy was that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as His gift of love for us to pay for our sin on the cross so that through Him we may experience the relationship with God for which we have been created. This beautiful gift can only be made useful in our lives as we respond in faith and accept it.

When we receive salvation in Christ not only is our future secure in Him, but our present is impacted as well. For instance, we have access to God’s grace (Eph 2:8). We are children of God (1 John 1:12). We become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). We are reconciled to God (Rom 5:8). We are indwelt by the Spirit (John 14:23). We are given spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12). In short, when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior we are given access to the resources of heaven to glorify God, be blessed, and benefit others. We are actually used by God to see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Now that is a gift that radically impacts our daily living.

I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but I have never received a gift that even comes close to salvation in Christ. It is the gift that keeps on giving to me as well as those around me. The gift of Christmas covers my past, gives me a sure hope for the future, and grants me confidence as I walk with Christ today.

I encourage each of us to take time each day to reflect on God’s gift of salvation. As we consider the extravagant love this gift represents I hope we will also consider the profound impact this gift has on our present lives. Christ is so worthy of our celebrating. Soli Deo Glory (Glory to God Alone)!