by Gail Bowman
Have you ever spent hours and days and weeks working on the perfect gift to give to your child, or your spouse or loved one, for Christmas? You thought about what they would most want, and maybe about what they would most need. Then you bought or made the very best thing that you could. But, it wasn’t done yet. Then, you wrapped it. If you are like me, you spent a long time wrapping the present, making sure that they couldn’t tell what it was from the outside, putting ribbon around it, placing the bow just right, then writing the best note on the outside of the wrapping that you could.
Whew, presents are stressful!
Now, what if you were God and you wanted to give the very best gift to the ones that you love above all else? What would you give them? Well, first, I guess it would depend on who you loved the most, because if it is the angels, it might make a difference. Or if it was the beautiful stars that you made, well that would take something different than it would for the angels, right?
Guess what? The things, that God loves above everything else, are you and me. Yes, it is true. God loves men. I am not sure what that says about God, because men can be pretty messed up, but it is the way it is. God loves us. ALL of us. He loves us more than the angels and more than the stars!
Ok, back to the Gift, now. Considering recent events, I have to think that a perfect gift for all men would be a perfect world leader. Or, maybe, enough money so that no one is ever without – anything. Or… let me think. How about a planet that has perfect trees everywhere that give us all the food we need and a perfect temperature so we are never cold or hot. No, that won’t work, He would have to call that Eden, and it’s been done.
What is the perfect gift? Well, when God decided to give the perfect gift to men, He sent it in the form of a baby. He didn’t send a baby in a big mansion, born in a nice warm house with lots of servants, like I would if I were Him. No, again, I am not sure what it says about God, but He sent the baby to a couple of poor, unmarried, teenagers. Not really the place I would entrust the “perfect” gift, myself. Then, he had this baby born, literally, in a cold barn, wrapped in rags and put to bed for the first time in a feeding trough. Have you ever seen the inside of a barn? Have you ever smelled the inside of a barn? Or, for that matter, the inside of a feeding trough? It’s amazing that his “perfect gift” didn’t die of sepsis right there in the barn!
Who was this baby that God sent into a dark and angry world, to two unmarried, poor teenagers; to be born in a dirty, smelly barn?
He sent Himself. Say what? That’s right. Jesus is one with God. He is God, although we call Him God’s Son because there are 3 parts to God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Don’t ask. It just is.
God loves you so much that He left his throne in Heaven to became a baby in the most wretched of circumstances.
Why? I mean really, would you do that? I can easily say that I wouldn’t. And was man (as a group) even grateful? Did people fall on their faces and worship Him and say, “Wow, God! Thanks for visiting! We are so outrageously honored to have you here!”? Well, two or three wise men did, but the King tried to kill him, and most people hated him! Really?
What happened then? Well, He (Jesus) grew up in a small village, learned to be a carpenter, and was killed in the most horrible method that man could devise. Story over. A really sad story. Not a great gift. Well then, why did He ever come? Why did God go to all the trouble, pain and heartache, when he could have stayed home?
There is a song that says, “It’s the years in between.”
While He was here on Earth, Jesus cured the sick, raised the dead and changed lives. That’s pretty cool, but not really enough to justify the pain. And as gifts to all humanity go, that really only affected the few thousand people that he was able to directly touch at that time. Still, not enough to be a “Great Gift”.
Here, then, is the real reason for The Gift: Jesus also died on the cross, and while He was there, he took the sin of the entire world, for all time, onto His own shoulders and suffered a horrible death to atone for that horrible, impossible, for-all-time, sin. While He was hanging on the cross (and He could easily have just called up the angels to have Himself released, or snapped his fingers and the nails would have evaporated) He looked into the future. He looked through 2000 years of time and He looked at you and at me. While he was dying, He looked at you and I with an impossible love and took our sin to the grave with Him when He died.
Ok, tears now. He took my sin on himself? That is the reason He came? Yes.
Well, that and to give us eternal life with Him for all eternity. He really loves us, and even likes us (no accounting for taste) and wants – really wants – to spend forever with us. He came, and lived, and died, to save you and to save me.
How? How can that happen? Well, there is a catch (you knew there would be, right?). You have to accept the gift. You have to take the coupon that He created for you on the cross and cash it in.
Ok, great gift, right?
How do you collect your Gift? All you have to do is – believe. Believe that Jesus died for your sins, confess your sins, and ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of your life. Done. Then you can have eternity with Jesus and your sins are all forgiven and paid for. That’s it. THAT is THE Gift.
Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn king”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Christ, by highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come
Offspring of the favored one
Veiled in flesh, the God had seen
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased, as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
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