Receiving gifts

Published 7:22 am Friday, December 24, 2010

I received a call from my brother in Arkansas last week to inform me about a gift he had given to one of the elderly ladies in their church.

He said he saw her ordering a meal at a fast-food eatery, so he hurried to the counter to pay for hers along with his. He felt good about his good deed, but as she conversed with him before leaving, with meal in bag, he learned that she had ordered the burger and fries for her dog. There was nothing wrong with that; it was his intention, though, to feed her and not her pets!

Sometimes our attempt to give gifts does not go as we anticipate.

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I could not help but be a little amused a few days before Christmas as Gale and I shopped in a department store.

We saw a gentleman whom I surmised must surely have been buying his wife a gift. I am nowhere near being a gifted enough writer to describe the look on his face as he strolled around with a bewildered look on his face holding a nice bathrobe. Maybe I was reading it wrong, but he gave me the impression that he would much rather be chewing on a green persimmon than being on the mission he was on.

I sure hope she liked it, because it appeared that it came with a high price of humiliation to that dear man.

Included in the various Christmas gifts that I received in recent weeks (all of which I am thankful for), was a very special one from one family. Not only was it a nice gift, but it came with a lot of personal meaning.

It was a handcrafted ink pen made from olive wood from the Holy Land. It is always nice to get something handmade, but it becomes much more special when you know the one whose hands did the work. It is a beautiful piece that I will cherish for a long time. As I told the congregation Sunday, they can borrow my pen—but not that one.

I have often heard it said that Christmas is about giving.

I agree with that, but I am also reminded that there must be recipients in order for gifts to be given. With that, I am reminded of how blessed we are to be recipients of Christ’s gift to us.

As we exit Christmas season 2010 and prepare to enter into 2011, I challenge us all to take some time to reflect upon what we have opportunity to receive as a result of Christ being born in Bethlehem, living a pure and sinless life, and then giving Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

We are assured in John 1:12 that “all who received Him [Christ], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (NIV). And Romans 6:23 records, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The formal celebration of Christmas is here, but we should always rejoice that because Christ gave sacrificially of Himself, we can receive generously from Him for all eternity.