Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Gifts of Blessings

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 NAS)

Christmas Gifts It all began with the Magi who brought gifts of gold, incense and myrrh to the Child in worship to the newborn King of the Jews. Since then, giving Christmas gifts has become a common practice to people who celebrate the season. In the 4th century, Saint Nicholas who was said to be a wealthy and generous man, rekindled the spirit of giving during Christmas when he gave heartily to children, especially those who were deprived and in need. This act of generosity by Saint Nicholas consequently became a tradition of exchanging gifts, leading to the myth of Santa Claus.

Many of us look forward to receiving gifts during Christmas every year. This is because gifts are such a blessing, and they are always free. We need not pay a cent for it, and we know when we receive a gift, it means someone cares for us. We give gifts to express our care for others too, to show them our love and friendship. The difference, however, between a giver and a receiver of Christmas gifts is the price. Giving Christmas gifts is not free. Christmas gifts are paid with a price.

When our Lord came down from heaven to earth as a Child, He presented Himself as a gift, paid for with His all to be with us and to lead us to the way of salvation. Jesus gave up His glory to be born into a humble home, and on the day He was born, He was destined to die a cruel death. He came to earth only for one reason—to pay the price for our sins and to give us the free gift of eternal life and salvation. Such is the price of the true Christmas gift, where "greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). By grace we have been saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ is the ultimate Christmas gift sent by God to reconcile our relationship with Him, to set us free from the bonds of slavery.

This Christmas, as we look forward to receiving gifts, let us not forget to give good gifts generously, especially to the poor and needy. Let us in giving, not expect anything in return as in exchanging gifts, but rather give willingly and cheerfully, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:17). Let us with grateful hearts thank God for His ultimate Christmas gift of eternal life in Christ.

Remind us O Lord the price You paid to save us all in giving of Yourself and everything else to be born a Child on earth and to die on the Cross for us. Teach us Lord to give good gifts of love to help the poor and the needy. Help us be willing Lord to give without expectation of return, for we know You desire a cheerful giver.

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