Receiving the Gift

This month there is going to be a lot of gift giving and receiving. Many presents will be wrapped in beautiful Christmas paper, some even with ribbons and bows. Others will be in fancy boxes. Still more will hide in the increasingly popular gift bag. When I was a kid, you might even find a gift wrapped in newspaper.

The greatest Christmas gift ever came wrapped in the flesh of a newborn baby. God “became flesh and made His dwelling among us” as John 1 says. That baby, Jesus, grew up into a man who demonstrated love, power, and forgiveness. Ultimately, He died on the cross to pay the price for our sin and then rose from the dead, conquering death and offering forgiveness to all who would believe.

Forgiveness is a gift. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness. Instead, He offers it as a present. It’s wrapped in grace and love. But it is not a gift that is forced upon us like a heavy fruitcake or an ugly sweater. It is offered to us. Have you received it? No one can accept it for you—not your parents, or your sibling, or your friend, or even your pastor. The Scripture says, “Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

So, you and I have to receive the gift to become a child of God. It is not enough to know about the gift. It is not something you need to save up for. You don’t have to wait to grow into it. Plenty of people know the gift is out there, but they haven’t personally received it. Maybe they don’t realize they need it. Maybe they think there will be too many strings attached. Maybe they just don’t want to have to read the instruction manual.

What about you? Have you received the best present ever? Have you experienced God’s forgiveness? Is Jesus your Savior? Have you become a child of God?
All you have to do is put your faith in Jesus. You might express it as a prayer like this, “Dear Jesus, I believe you are the greatest Christmas present ever. Thank you for dying for me and rising from the dead. I want to receive your forgiveness for my sin and become a child of God. Please be my Savior and Lord. I love you. Amen.”

If you have received the gift of forgiveness (or once you do), you can share this gift with others, letting them know that there is enough of the gift for them to enjoy, too, if they will receive it. Be sure to keep reading the manual (the Bible) so that you get to experience all the benefits of the gift and get to know the Giver better.  The longer you have the gift, the more you know that you and others need it, and the better you can appreciate it!

Have a blessed Christmas season!