Pastor Kristin Wenck
A great deal of our joy and frustration at Christmas centers around gift-giving. Joy at finding the perfect gift, frustration over finding a gift for someone who “has everything”. Giving gifts at Christmas began as a celebration of the gift of Jesus. When God gave His only Son, what gift was He giving? The Bible says that Jesus came so that we could have everlasting life and salvation. Everlasting life to many would mean never dying. In the Bible, many times death is defined as “separation from God”. The “life” that Jesus came to give was a chance for men once again to live in unity with God, to walk with Him and to know Him.
Ask any child and many adults what gift they have to give Jesus, and they respond with “my heart”. But being born again, the gift of a new heart, is the gift that Jesus gives us, not a gift that we give Him. Many times in the Bible our salvation is referred to as “the gift of God”. And what a wonderful gift! Being eternally connected to God brings the blessings of prosperity in every area–healing for our bodies, financial prosperity, the fruit of the spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. It brings freedom from sin and fear. If God is for us, who can be against us? His gift to you–salvation and the Holy Spirit– is everything that you need to walk as He did on the earth. That gift began with the child born in Bethlehem, and was completed when Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. When we receive gifts at Christmas, we like to be sure we give something in return. What will you give in return for this indescribable gift?
I heard today
Of a decrepit native woman
Who walked mile after mile
Under the blistering sun
To bring a small gift of embroidery
To the missionary she deeply loved.
Hour after hour she trudged
Over rough, rugged roads
Clutching tightly her small gift.
Her weary body sagged
Her vision blurred
Her bare feet bled from the jagged rocks.
Grateful but overwhelmed
The missionary wept.
The trembling old woman spoke softly:
The walk is part of the gift.”
Our response to His calling is the gift we bring, and the walk is part of the gift. How you do something is just as important to God as whether or not you do it. The walk is part of the gift. How do you respond to long holiday lines, people who don’t wait their turn, crazy drivers, disobedient children, a late spouse, lazy co-workers, angry bosses and your own frustrations? Between now and eternity there is time to give Him the gift of your walk. The Bible urges us to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3) Every day we have the opportunity to give Him this gift, and many times it is a hard walk–hard on our flesh!
This gift is given in the every day moments of life, not only in the life-changing ones. This gift is given in the little things as well as the big things. This gift is given in public and in private. It is given when you feel like it and when you don’t. It is a gift that touches the world around you but it is given to Him alone.
Salvation and its blessings are God’s gifts to us—we don’t deserve them and we can’t earn them. The way we live our moments on earth is our gift to Him. Only by living every day in fellowship with Him can we receive His gift of life. As we commit ourselves to give Him the gift of our daily walk, His gift is shared with family, friends, and the world. As you go about your shopping and gift wrapping this year, remember to include Father God on your gift-giving list!