“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
This time of year people are busy purchasing gifts to give to others. The other day was a very busy mailing day at the local post office in Kalispell, Montana, the line being, as expected, very long. A lot of people have high hopes of getting some of the things that they have asked for or stated that they would like to receive, especially children.
In much of the world the same thing goes on, with some different varieties. Despite the fact that the Savior was very highly likely not born on the 25th of December, people nonetheless purpose to celebrate such an occasion, due to historical reasons that they are unaware of.
Many people this time of year write about putting ‘Christ back in christmas’, but in those regards, I would be the oddity to suggest that Christ should never be involved with such a mass. You can read more about the origins of many holidays with the link on the right hand side of the homepage, clicking on the book Holy Days to download a free ebook. For the purpose of this, the discussion will be simply looking at the vanity of humanity in the pursuits that are undertaken by the masses, verses the free gift that God has made available to all.
What qualifies as a good gift? Thoughtfulness, overall value, necessities or something else? Well, there is not one standard answer for such things, but both would be determined by the giver and the receiver. When we consider the free gift that God has given to all of mankind, let’s take a look at this in regards to the importance and greatness of such a gift!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of Jehovah been revealed? For He grows up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of the dry ground. He has no form nor splendor that we should regard Him, nor anything spectacular that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men; a Man of pain, and knowing infirmity; a hiding of faces; being despised, we have esteemed Him not. Truly He has borne our sicknesses, and carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. He has been oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opens not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is mute, so He opens not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken. And His grave was assigned with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should give His soul as a sin-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the delight of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be fulfilled. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will apportion to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoils with the strong; because He has poured out His soul unto death; and He was reckoned among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
“And you being dead in trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all formerly conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others; but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might display the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:1-9
“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, led astray, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved.” Acts 4:12
“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ to the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He served with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell everywhere on the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine is like gold or silver or stone, something engraved by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has established a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has appointed. He has given assurance of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:24-31
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-15
“By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time onward waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14
“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was accounted to him, but also for us, to whom it shall be accounted, believing in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through the faith of Jesus Christ, to all and upon all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to give evidence of His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to prove at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26
The reality is many people go throughout the whole year without spending much, if any time, reading the Bible. In fact, I would not be surprised, if even during this holiday season if most people would not be desiring to go through the list of Bible verses above. The reality of the situation is that people need to understand that the gift of God far surpasses any gift that anyone could possibly give to anyone else.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I love you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” John 15:12-14
If there is anything this season offers, it should be a realization of the reality of God. While one could argue why the season is what it is, how many times does year after year go by and the vast majority of people have accepted gifts from others, whom love and care about them, but they refuse to repent of their sins and by faith believe into Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, accepting the ultimate gift?
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Cyrenius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. And the angel said to them, Do not fear, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men! And so it came about, when the angels had departed from them into Heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us go at once to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young doves. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Your people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marveled at the things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke concerning Him to all those in Jerusalem who looked for redemption. So when they had performed all things according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.” Luke 2:1-39