1 John 3:1a; 1 John 4:7-11
Six year old Evelyn escorted me to the couch with her Christmas catalog in hand. As we sat together, she led me through every single page, each circled with items she desired. To be honest, I thought, it would have been easier for her to circle the items she DIDN’T want. Slowly we turned each page, reviewing each choice with her unashamed explanations of what she’d do with her selections. Not keeping this opportunity to herself, to my delight, she had included gifts for her brothers to receive as well.
In the midst of the experience, I noticed every listed price was scribbled out. I inquired, “ And why did you do that?” To which she replied, “Because I don’t have to pay for them.” Evelyn in her pure faith already recognizes the invitation to receive gifts, and at no cost to her.
Do you like to receive gifts? Maybe your joy of the season is in giving gifts.
It was God’s heart to send the gift of Jesus to each of us. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE… He gave HIS SON…” Jesus was the first Christmas gift ever! This treasure was delivered into our world that through His sacrificial life and death years later we could become children of God. Did we earn it? Did we deserve it?
As in the days of Jesus, we can get caught up in religion and tradition. We may believe that by our good works and morality we have earned God’s love. The fact is that if we receive Jesus as our Savior, there is nothing we can do to cause God to love us any more than He does. On the other hand, when we fall short He doesn’t love us any less. His love is truly unconditional.
God loved us first, and that is why He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus laid down His life to pay the debt that we could not otherwise pay. Such a gift of life and love is not for this season only. God has given those who believe all that He has. The love that was born in a stable is ours to share with Him everyday of the year. Each new day as we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find in Him grace to be transformed by Him in His love. And as we become more like Him, our hearts will be full of love that pours out to those around us.
During these weeks, I want to remind you that the list of activities of the season can often create busyness that finds no room to be with Him. Each day brings new invitations for gifts to be had with Him. As God has given you abundant, continuous love and life, take time to ENJOY Him. Bask in the fruit of all that belonging to Him brings.
Lastly, as Jesus so freely gave Himself, may you be awakened to those around you. The gift of love is to be shared with all the world. For God so loved them as you have been loved.
1. Consider the bounty of gifts you have already received from God. Have you taken the time to thank Him for these unearned blessings?
2. What is God inviting you into this Christmas season? Ask Him. Listen for His answers. You may be surprised!