It means a lot when someone cares enough and would make the sacrifice, to bless us by giving us a gift, doesn’t it? There is no doubt, we all love receiving presents. At this time of year, so many people are thinking about the present they might like to receive or the best present to get for others. Yet as Christians, we already know the best gift that anyone could ever receive. It is a gift that can change someone’s life forever. It is the gift that changed our own lives and the gift we are thankful for it every day. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Cor 9:15).
This is the focus of the Christmas gospel story, isn’t it? We read that “God so loved the world that he delivered up his only son that whoever believes on him will be given the gift of eternal life” (John 3:16). This should bring wonder to our hearts as we realise afresh that it is a GIFT, not something we earn or pay for. It is not like receiving a wage that we worked for, but a free gift. The Bible couldn’t use clearer words to say this when it says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Imagine that, the highest price paid, for the greatest gift given. And who is it offered to? You and I? Sinners of all backgrounds and walks of life, the grand “whosoever” of the gospel. The gift is addressed and offered to every one of us, but not every person receives it. Some reject it or take a pass on such a glorious offer. But, alas, it is only possessed by “whoever believes”. The gift is fully paid for, but must be personally received.
Well, how does someone receive such a gift? In the simplest terms, “by faith”. You must put your trust in the character of the one who is giving it and put your trust in Jesus personally as your saviour. Ah, then you receive the free gift of salvation or “eternal life” and it is yours, once and for all.
Imagine a child leaving a present under the tree and not opening it! That may have been the thing they had always dreamed about. That gift may have outshone all other gifts under the tree that year. Oh may we not leave the greatest gift unopened this Christmas. May we all know and understand anew that the greatest gift is paid for, offered to us, and receiving it is all that is left to do. God loves you, Jesus laid down his life for us all, and through him we find abundant life now and eternal life forever. As one Christmas carol implores “let every heart prepare him room”. If you are not sure about your standing with you, then I hope you find room for Jesus in your heart this Christmas. And as Christians, let us truly be thankful to God that we have received the unspeakable gift.