She was widowed about the time I was 2. My parents looked out for her and in many ways, she looked out for us 6 kids. Her Christmas gift always had two parts to it, both wrapped separate but tied together with a ribbon. One gift we needed; The other was the one we wanted.
The needed gift was easily identified, always wrapped in a soft, floppy package – PJ’s, knitted sweater or maybe corduroys. The other we wanted – a toy that we tore open first and ran off to play before the wrapping fluttered to the carpet. Mom would call us back from playing with the wanted gift to open the needed gift, prompting us to show appreciation.
It makes me think of God’s Gift of Salvation which is eternal life. In a way, this gift comes in two parts, also wrapped together. In the first part, we are more prone to want. It’s the Christmas child Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. A large portion of our world still stops to sing “Joy to the World”, buy gifts and enjoy the flavours and celebrations of the season while we remember a baby that was born to be the Saviour of the World.
But what about the second part which completes God’s full giving? Salvation could never be accomplished without the baby leaving the manger and 30+ years later we see a man hanging on a cruel cross, bearing our sins in His own body, paying the entire penalty of our sins and taking the place where we should be. It’s on the cross where the gift was made complete when we hear the words “It is Finished”.
What was finished was the complete Gift of God which spans from a crib, to cross death and then resurrection from that cross. It’s been my observation that this part of the gift is needed but not so much wanted. I’ve also observed that once a person sees they need it, they’ll want it and cry out like the Pharisee “God, be merciful to me a Sinner”, grasping for it like a drowning man lunging for a life ring. Then it becomes the gift that we both need and want.
God gives us a very specific time for this gift to be received – It’s now.
2 Cor 6:2b says “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; Behold NOW is the day of Salvation”.
Maybe this Christmas Season you’ll discover God’s completed gift which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. You can receive God’s Salvation today – you do not want to leave earth without it. “But as many as received Him, to them gave he the power (or right) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. – John 1 :12”
Ron Burley – www.177secondsermon.com
Ron has previously served as a volunteer Chaplain at the Winnipeg International Airport. He enjoys writing when the everyday events of life draw out a spiritual application.