Christmas is all about giving and receiving gifts, sharing good wishes, and spending time with family. It is somewhat sad to see that this special holiday has been so commercialized, but it is nonetheless a joyous time. Many people have a special story about Christmas, something they remember after many years. Christmas is the most joyful season of the year, even if we may not appreciate the hustle and bustle over gift-buying and preparation.
A poem titled “The Week Before Christmas” relates the exasperation and despair of shopping, when a child’s voice sang: “Born in a manger, for mankind he died!” The writer then goes on and says:
Oh, Spirit of Christmas, in error, I’ve been.
Blinded by trimmings, and Christ have not seen.
Forgive me, dear Father, the wrong I have done,
And help me to love Him, Jesus, thy Son.
Christmas is, after all, about God’s ultimate gift to mankind. Three things to consider in this ultimate gift:
Behind every gift there is a giver. There can be no gift if there is not first a giver, one that selects, purchases, and gives the gift. Normally, a gift mirrors the giver in some way. In regard to the ultimate Christmas gift, it also reflects the Giver because of the gift itself and the motive with which it was given.
God was the very first one to give a Christmas gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
In a gift, we may also see the heart of the giver. The reason for God’s ultimate gift was that God so loved the world. A gift is measured in part from the motive that the giver had for giving the gift. Even when the gift itself is only modest, knowing the love the giver tried to express makes it special. We appreciate a gift not merely for its monetary value, but for the motive behind it. And the Giver of the ultimate Christmas gift did so out of pure love. It was not just to make an impression; it was more like giving His heart in the gift He gave. And as we reminisce on a gift we receive for Christmas, let’s value it according to the intent of the giver. It is an expression of love: “For God so loved the world.” When we contemplate the ultimate gift, we first need to recognize that behind the gift stands the Giver, and it is God the Father.
The second thing we see is the gift itself. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He did not give just any gift; He gave that which was most valuable to Him. We live in a time where the mentality of entitlement permeates the attitude of people; they think they deserve all they wish for. The Lord did not give His Son because we were entitled to it, nor did we deserve it. The gift of God was what we needed even when we did not recognize it. We see the value of the gift because it was given out of God’s free will and deep love toward the human race. The value of a gift can also be assessed by the cost. God has given us many gifts, gifts we cannot purchase, gifts we do not deserve any more than other people who don’t have them. All the riches of the world belong to God: “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:8). The Lord could have also given us a portion of that, but it would not compare to the gift of His Son. He was the ultimate gift, for He satisfies the greatest needs the human soul has: acceptance and forgiveness.
God does not merely give because we like to receive gifts, but He gives the gift that we need. Paul describes it as His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
People can give gifts that are expensive but do not have any practical use. God does not operate that way. He gives the Gift that supersedes all gifts: Christ brings us peace, a peace that is beyond understanding, a peace that affects every aspect of our life, peace with God after being His enemies. He brings peace with others, with the people we love, cherish, and live with. This gift includes love, divine love that cannot be compared with mere human emotions. It gives hope, a hope in a dark and troublesome world where hate and animosity reign. Jesus is, after, all the ultimate gift!
The last point is the recipient of the gift. We have the giver, who is God; we have the gift, which is Jesus; and then there is the recipient for whom the gift is intended. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” In this sense, the gift is all-inclusive; it is for everyone. And in this, the expression “one size fits all” means that One can truly apply to all. Since the gift was given, there is no person who has walked this earth whose exact needs this gift did not fit. Because the spiritual need for this gift is universal, every man, woman, and child is in need of it. When God gives a gift, it is always fitting; it always addresses a need and serves a real purpose. As this gift is meant for all people, it does, however, include one stipulation, and this God Himself attached to it:
“That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” As eager as God is to give the ultimate gift, He can only give it to those who will receive it. And since man has the ability to accept or reject the gift, tragically, most people do reject it. If the gift is not accepted by faith, there is nothing God can do to make people receive it. No other gift has been rejected as much as the ultimate Christmas gift of God, His only begotten Son, the great Messiah. But there is no access to eternal life without the Gift, Jesus the Christ. The gift of everlasting life includes joy and freedom from sin, the hope of an eternal reward, and protection in all the temptations while in the world.
The ultimate gift is for all of us. God is the giver; Jesus is the gift, and you are the recipient. The question is whether this gift is yours already, and if not, the best time to accept it is now while God is still offering it freely to all. Christmas will only have a real meaning and purpose for you if you possess the ultimate Christmas gift from God. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).