Merry Christmas! Open One More Gift!
Images of Christmas: Shoppers bustling in and out of stores. Sparkling lights, trees, and garlands everywhere. Melodies of Christmas playing wherever we go. Nativity scenes and church pageants. Children sitting on Santa’s lap in the mall. Greetings of “Merry Christmas” resound. And, of course, gifts stacked under Christmas trees.
For most of us, Christmas gifts are a big part of the holiday. It is a joy to find just the right gift and then see the delighted expression on the face of the recipient when the wrappings are torn away. And it’s fun to receive gifts—most of them, anyhow! Even if it is something we will never use or wear, we are grateful to the giver for thinking of us.
Do you open all of your gifts? Or do you say, “I don’t think I want that one. I’ll just leave it wrapped under the tree.” This may sound like a strange question. But God has given us the best gift of all—and yet many refuse to open it.
God’s Gift to Us
Christmas goes so much deeper than the gift-giving traditions we celebrate every year. Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth in a humble manger. The little Child came into a world that yawned on His arrival. There was no room for Him in the inn, but angels heralded His birth.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-11)
“Amazing Grace” is the favorite hymn of thousands. The words express thanks for God’s amazing and unending grace. The word grace means “gift.” Jesus is God’s gift to us.
Without Jesus, all humanity is guilty of breaking His law. None of us can say that we are worthy of heaven since nothing imperfect can enter there. We have all sinned. None of us is perfect. And the penalty for sin is death.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
But God, in His perfect love, took compassion on us and provided a way for us to be forgiven by faith in Christ. The Bible explains that Jesus came into the world not just as a little baby but also as the perfect Lamb born to die in our place. Christ died as our substitute. He loves us so much that He did not shrink back from suffering on the cross. His death became our victory. It matters not how much sin or how grave the sin, Christ shed His blood for every sin so we could be set free and be given eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God gave us the perfect gift—eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord!
Since God’s love is a gift, we are not required to do anything to deserve it. As exciting as our Christmas memories of happy family times and gift sharing may be, all that will pale in comparison to the joys of heaven that come to those who trust in Christ. He is God’s greatest Gift. We don’t deserve this precious gift, but it is ours by God’s grace, if we choose to receive it.
Will You “Open” God’s Gift?
A gift is not a gift until it is opened. Jesus loves you and died for you. What does He ask in return? He wants what money cannot buy. He wants you to give Him your heart in love, just as freely as He has given you His heart. Christmas is a love story between God and those He created. We are here for a reason. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is so much more than that. Jesus is the reason for life.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Are you ready to receive the Gift that is immeasurable and unconditional? All that is required is faith. God has given you a Gift: Jesus. He asks for your reply. Will you open your Gift by believing that God loves you and that Jesus died for your sins? Will you receive His precious gift of life?
If you want to receive God’s Gift, just tell Him. You don’t have to say a specific prayer; God knows your heart. When you turn from your sins and accept Jesus, God’s grace will cover you, and it will begin your life-long journey of following Him.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)