The Blessing of a Great Gift
‘Tis the season of gift-giving! “The Ten Best Tech Gifts to Give This Season.” “DIY Your Way Through Your Christmas List.” “The Most Sought-After Toys of 2017.” Lists are made and checked off. Stores are full of shoppers looking for the best deal. People yell. Children have meltdowns. Cash registers ring. Mall Santas get peed on. Angels sing.
It’s an American frenzy every year.
I’m that person who likes to – not just at Christmas, but any time – give gifts that reflect the personality of the one I’m giving to. Oftentimes, I come across something that makes me think of that person, so I get it for them because I think of how it might (hopefully) make them feel. I like gifts that twist the heart, that make the person burst out laughing, or that make one realize there is someone out there that just *gets* them. Or I know what I am giving is something they wouldn’t get for themselves but totally need or want and will be grateful for. Latest and greatest or fancy “wow” gifts are not my style.
When I ponder what the Christmas season means to Christians, I wonder if half of us have forgotten the gift that God gave to us in his son. We are, after all, celebrating the birth of Christ. The gift, of course, is that of God sending us his son to be sacrificed for our sins – the gift of salvation. But there is also the gift he gave us in the actual man that Jesus was during his time on earth.
God did not send his son to us in the form of a flashy event with Jesus clad in a luxurious robe with a large, valuable crown for us to be in awe of. There was no, “HERE YE, HERE YE!” announcement for the world to take notice and listen to. He sent a baby. To a young, unwed girl. IN A BARN. It was subtle, unassuming, and exactly what he knew the world needed. And this gift that kept on giving? It continued to be a reflection of the fact that God knows each of us well, and that what we needed more than a fancy “wow” gift was an ordinary man who related to our humanness, walked among us, experienced what we experienced, and lived as we lived.
Just like in present day for so many of us, life often got the best of folks way back then, too. God knew that the best gift he could give us was someone who just *got* us and our lives. No “normal” king (by most standards) can do that. And God knew. Jesus as a man walking among us was the most ingenious way for God to engage with us – to relate to our emotions, our brokenness, our daily walk of life.
And what a great gift that is. Think about when you are down in the pit and feel like there isn’t a person alive who knows how you feel, and you have no idea where to go from there; and then that one friend climbs down there with you and relates. And somehow, one way or another, helps you back out again. What a treasure.
This is what Jesus did as a man on earth, and left as an example for us to this day of how to live and become more like him in our daily lives. He spent his time among the poorest of poor, the rejected, the unwanted and unloved, the hated – and he helped them, healed them, blessed them, showed them mercy and grace, and spread the news of his father’s love and forgiveness.
One of Jesus’ greatest moments of leading by example was when he was baptized. He was baptized. Think about that for a second. Jesus was baptized. Jesus. Have you ever really thought about that? Y’all – Jesus was sinless. Why did he want to be baptized? He didn’t need to repent of his sins or symbolically wash away the “old Jesus” to begin his spiritual journey. But if he was calling for all of us to be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit, then why wouldn’t he do the same? He didn’t need to. He wanted to. To show us the way.
Again, what an amazing treasure this gift is – the man that Jesus was and is and will continue to be for us. When you are gift-giving this season, I challenge you to really think about who you are giving to and what the gift will really mean to them – now and in the future. Really bless someone this season!