Tis the season…to shop till you drop,grab a coffee to go, then shop some more!
Of course we started exchanging presents as a reminder of the gifts of gold,frankincense & myrrh presented to Jesus. But at times we go Totally Over The Top. I mean,what do we give our nearest & dearest who have everything they want-& more?
I walked under the canopy of lights in Victoria Square on Wednesday night then through the Christmas market to get inspiration. St George’s market was shut but a red sparkly bow adorned the entrance- making the whole building look like a present.
There’s daily emails bombarding my inbox with all sorts of gift ideas- including Boots star buys that I’m tempted to buy for myself!
While we endeavour to give great gifts, God is the ultimate Gift-Giver:
‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’
(James 1:17 NIV)
‘God’s gifts put men’s best dreams to shame’
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
The greatest gift came in unexpected wrapping. All the fullness of God- His grace & goodness, majesty & might, wrapped in swaddling clothes,lying in a manger
‘Once in our world, a Stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.’
As we grow older our Christmas wish list gets shorter & we find that the things we want aren’t things. Sometimes the best gift we can give to others is our time.
Someone once wrote that love can be spelt T-I-M-E. Jesus loved us so much that He gave up eternity to spend time on earth.
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His One & Only Son’
‘Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.’
He came to earth & became flesh, so that we can be adopted into the family of God through faith. The Gift of God means that we can become children of God.
‘The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.’
( C. S. Lewis-Mere Christianity)
‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’
(John 1:12 NIV)
‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.’
(1 John 3:1 NIV)
God’s gift is a long lasting, never-ending present-eternal life.
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
(Romans 6:23 NIV)
God’s gifts can be found in unexpected places in our lives-in the dark, difficult days:
‘God said “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
(Isaiah 45:3, 7 NIV)
Going forward through the darkness into the light, His Presence is the greatest present.
when God reached down,
when God became one of us,
with us in this journey of life.
Isaiah foretold this crucial aspect of the incarnation:
‘All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)
(Isaiah 7:14 NLT)
‘His name is God With Us and we believe He is.’
(Emily P Freeman)
‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)
This Christmastime, if you haven’t already done so, will you accept this ultimate gift from God – the Gift of Himself, for now & forever?