Gift giving, the hallmark of the Christmas season and the challenge that sends us from mall to mall in search of that elusive perfect gift for each person on our list. If only that perfect gift existed, we might hope to happen upon it. The gift that would say we care, that would bring them joy, that would fill their need and our desire to meet that need in their life. That’s a lot to ask of a gift, don’t you think? Still we make the attempt year after year; searching, agonizing, driving ourselves crazy as we seek again for the ultimate gift. The gift to end all gifts. (until next year, that is) Then we need to do it all over again. (either we get another chance to do better than last year OR we have to find a way to top what we did last year when we thought we had succeeded in finding the perfect gift) Either way, we are once again faced with finding a gift that fits for each of our loved ones.
Faced with this annual, impossible task I am easy prey for the ‘one size fits all’ label, assuring me that it will fit. For the moment I choose to ignore the implausibility of this statement, although I can clearly see with my own eyes that we come in all shapes and sizes, leaving no possibility that this promise could be true. Still, when desperate I will believe what’s convenient in the moment. Maybe I can find that gift that appeals to all ages, all personalities, all people need it and like it, the ‘one size fits all’ of electronics, or music, or books, or food, or decoration etc. But we were created as distinct, unique individuals – so my search for the perfect, ‘one size fits all’ gift is doomed to failure. I can’t even find the perfect gift for the individuals on my list when I take their uniqueness into account and match each gift to them alone.
What are we celebrating anyway with all this gift giving? Oh yes, God’s gift to us, His Son, Jesus. Truly the perfect gift, once, for all time, for all people past, present and future. Our Heavenly Father knows how different and special each of us are because He created us this way. He knows every hair on our head and He knows what we need, even if we don’t. He knew we would need a Savior, each and every one of us. So when the time was right, He sent Jesus to us in the form of a baby. It’s Jesus’ birth we are remembering and celebrating now. We have cause to rejoice in this birth because this baby in the manger would grow up to be the Christ on the cross, paying the price of our sin so that we could be reconciled to our Creator, God.
A man called Simeon understood this. When he encountered the infant Jesus at the temple, Simeon took Jesus in his arms saying, “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people” (Luke 2:29-31) Simeon recognized the baby Jesus as God’s gift to mankind, the promised salvation had arrived and Simeon felt he could now die in peace, having seen with his own eyes the fulfillment of God’s promise to man. The baby in the manger and the Christ on the cross are one in the same. Simeon didn’t need to wait and see Jesus grow up, the gift was given, the price was paid. Heaven was rejoicing and we can too.
God knows what we need and He desires out of His great mercy towards us to meet that need. He knows that each of us needs forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, restoration, acceptance, comfort, peace, hope, love and the secure promise of eternal life with Him. All that and more is found in the Person of Jesus Christ. The gift has been given, it is ours for the receiving. We have but to accept the gift. Not only is this gift from God meant for every single person, Jesus is just what each of us needs. He ‘fits’ everyone because we all share the same desire for mercy, reconciliation, purpose, peace, hope, joy, acceptance, love, eternal life that only He can give in unlimited measure to each person who asks Him. Jesus is the perfect gift, our Heavenly Father’s perfect ‘one size fits all’ gift to me and to you and to as many as will believe on His name.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Yes, the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas is the resurrected Christ risen with healing in His wings.
The gift is given! So unwrap it hurting world! Repent, receive, rejoice and remember that you have been redeemed! And in your remembering, realize that in celebrating Christ’s birth you are also celebrating His death and resurrection. When I celebrate Jesus’ birth, I am celebrating the gift of my salvation. God has given us His Son and in so doing He has given us all things necessary.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel–which means , ‘God with us’ “. (Matthew 1:23)
Yes, God is with us, He gave us the perfect gift of His Son and He abides with us still. Receive Him, oh weary world, unwrap your gift and give thanks to your God.
Merry Christmas to one and to all,
sincerely, Grace Day