Friday, December 25, 2020
There will be nineteen of us crammed into our small living room when the time comes to open presents. One by one children will sit in the middle of the floor and open a gift, followed by another and then another until all eleven of them have opened a gift. Then we will repeat that process until all the gifts have been opened. Each child will burst with excitement when they realize they got exactly what they had put on their list. Each giver will receive a warm hug, a hearty thank-you, and the satisfaction of knowing that the gift will be used and enjoyed.
At least that’s how it’s supposed to go. Unfortunately, some gifts don’t elicit the warm hug response without a parental push. Some gifts are pushed aside in favor of others. There is ample opportunity for the giver to feel unappreciated.
When someone refuses to appreciate and accept a gift that was given as an expression of love, something very serious occurs: the giver of the gift has also been rejected. We may try to cover it up by assuring the giver that we still love them, even though the gift isn’t what we really need. But the fact is that when the giver knows about a real need, purchases the perfect gift, and offers the gift to us, our rejection of the gift is rejection of the giver.
Now listen carefully. From a heart of pure love, based on a real need, God gave the gift of Jesus to us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes on Him will not perish but will have eternal life.” But the world has rejected the Gift and the Giver.
We all have the same need. Every one of us was born in sin, deserving of eternal death and separation from God. But God demonstrates His unique and eternal love for us by sending us Jesus Christ to die in our place. God’s love put His innocent Son on the cross as the purchase price of our forgiveness. Yet we reject His gift, hoping there’s another option that doesn’t require us to admit that we are at fault, and in doing so, we reject God.
My dear friend, we are at fault. Our sin has separated us from God. We are incapable of changing our condition. We are hopelessly lost. But God’s love for us provides a way for us. His gift of love to us is His Son Jesus. God did not give us the gift of working hard to earn our forgiveness. God gave us the gift of His Son doing all the work for us so we can be forgiven. God saw our need. God provided the gift to meet our need. God freely hands the gift to us. All we have to do is admit we need it.
What will you do? Will you receive God’s gift, or reject it?