God's Perfect Gift To Us

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gift Tag
The following is an excerpt from my book, Living the Transformed Life.

Christmas was a big deal in our house when I was a kid. My parents saved for months so they could afford gifts for their three children. My father was a pastor of a small church in a rural mountain community and worked a second job as a mail carrier for the Postal Service. When Christmas came, we were lavished with more gifts than we certainly deserved. I remember that as we opened our presents, I always felt a little sad for my father because he only got a few gifts while everyone else got a dozen or more. He never seemed disappointed though. I now know that for him, Christmas was all about his kids. He really wasn't interested in getting anything. His face lit up from the sheer joy of watching his kids get all the presents. That is why he saved and worked an extra job. He did it so he could lavish us with presents. Moreover, it never had anything to do with whether we were good or bad. Believe me, if it were, the only present we would have received was a lump of coal. It had nothing to do with our behavior and everything to do with the fact that we were his kids.

I learned a lot about God from watching my dad at Christmas time. He showed me a picture of the Father who is the ultimate gift-giver of the universe. I also saw a great picture of Jesus because not only did my dad give us great presents, he gave himself not just on Christmas Day, but every day of the year.

Peter tells us that God, in his great mercy, has given us new birth. It is his free gift to you with no strings attached. You cannot earn it or buy it. It is a gift and all you have to do is accept it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." The beauty of this free gift is in the price that was paid so we could have it. It was paid with the very life of God's Son on the cross. It is the costliest gift ever given in the history of the universe, bought with the most precious of all of the Father's possessions. To be able to offer this gift to us, Jesus had to lay down his life for us. In addition, the only way for us to live in the fullness of his salvation is for us to lay our lives down for him.

The greatest way we can honor this priceless gift of salvation that cost the life of his Son is for us to now lay down our life for him. It may be free but in light of the value of our free gift, we are left with no other choice than to give back absolutely everything we have in return.

May you have a truly blessed Christmas season as you celebrate God's perfect gift!

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