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A Gift to Receive...

Ah, Christmas! Sleigh bells, decorations, tasty treats, and… many, many gifts. A lot of saving up - or borrowing - is required for all the shopping required at this time of year, but people obviously enjoy gift giving. It does create some stress, though, doesn’t it? Did I spend enough? Did I spend too much? Will they like what I gave them? And there is so much wrapping still to do!

Most of us tend not to be nearly as preoccupied about how we will receive gifts - that’s usually the easy part. A child may shake with excitement on Christmas morning, but we don’t normally wring our hands anxiously wondering how we’ll find time to open all the gifts we receive on Christmas Day. Our responsibility to receive gifts seems so simple that we don’t spare a thought in our Christmas preparations for how we will receive and open the gifts that are given to us. But there is a Christmas gift for which you do need to give some serious thought.

An ancient Scripture concerning Jesus Christ prophesied of His coming into the world with these words: “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given… and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). What a gift God has given us - His very own Son! This costly gift was carefully wrapped, not in fancy paper, but in swaddling cloths, and then laid in a lowly manger, normally used to feed animals. The way He entered the world parallels the way this gift must be received - in humility.

Sometimes we receive Christmas gifts that we really don’t need and have no intention of using. But none of us can afford to take that approach with the gift that God offers us. We all urgently need the gift that only God can give us - eternal life in His Son. The Scriptures say, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus came not only to be admired as a baby in a manger, but to be worshipped as God in human flesh. He became a real man in order to pay for our sins by His death on the cross. God doesn’t offer us eternal life as an obligatory custom at a certain time of the year. God has given us His Son, Jesus, because He loves us, and He knows how much we need this very special gift. It is our responsibility, then, to be humble enough to admit that we need this gift - we need a Saviour. Will you set aside the stress of gift buying and gift wrapping and take time to think about gift receiving?

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
the dear Christ enters in. (O Little Town of Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks)

- article by Brody Thibodeau

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