“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”Luke 2:6-7
I remember as a young boy counting the days until Christmas. We did not have an advent calendar displayed in our home, but my mind was well aware of how many days until the big day. Planning for Christmas started well in advance as I kept my eyes peeled for the hottest toys and gifts. The catalogs were well worn, and I wrote my wish list in pencil so I could make changes as needed. There was a Christmas edition catalog that always came out in November, so I altered my list as the hottest toys were announced. Asking for the perfect gift took time and careful planning and it was not something to be taken lightly. I made sure to have a game plan for what I really wanted.
My parents never had to ask me what I wanted as I left picture cutouts of my favorite gifts on their dresser mirror and dog-eared the catalogs for the runner-up gifts. My sister and I usually got a gift we really wanted, a gift that we needed, and a stocking gift. You can understand why, as a kid, I so looked forward to Christmas and why I counted down the days. We would go to my grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve and presents there, then head home about 1:30am to open one present under our tree. We would open our other presents on Christmas morning.
The older I get, I don’t get as excited as I used to, but I do enjoy watching my loved ones open up gifts. My excitement is now wrapped up in buying the gifts I need to get and making sure I don’t forget anyone. There have been some years when I have been ahead of the game and other years when I am still shopping on Christmas Eve. I am glad to say that the greatest gift that I have ever received was well planned and executed to perfection.
I John 4:9-10 states, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein (in this) is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The greatest gift I ever received was God’s gift of salvation – a gift that was given out of His love and manifested through His Son. It was not a spur of the moment thought or one that was given out of obligation, but one that was lovingly planned and carried out because of His great love for us.
In 2020, I am learning to be excited for Christmas because of the Gift I have received. I will be happy for the gifts under the tree, but that will soon subside as these items will wear out and give way to something new. The gift of salvation that I received as a young boy still brings joy to my heart, and I am still amazed and awed by the love of my Heavenly Father.
What about you? Have you accepted His greatest gift? No matter what you get or don’t get this Christmas, Jesus is the only gift that can truly satisfy. If you have accepted this gift, have you spent time worshiping Him in this season? May we remember Christ this Christmas, and may we share His precious gift with others.