The Ultimate Gift

Christmas is a holiday that most people are aware of and most celebrate by giving gifts and spending time with each other. Personally, it is one of my favorite holidays because it reminds me of how amazing God truly is and how much He loves us.  It is also one of the only times where I get to see many of my family members gathered in one place and having fun. As this holiday draws near, I decided to look through the gospels and read on Jesus’ birth.We read of Jesus' birth in Luke 2:1-20:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I find it amazing that while we fuss and rush to get all the gifts ready on time, Jesus’ birth teaches us a whole lot on gift giving. Reading this passage again, I saw three things: His love, His sacrifice and His humility. John 3:16 writes that God loved the world and He sent His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. His love for us as a people was pretty amazing to do just that.

This passage also reveals His sacrifice and His humility and He began with it and He continued it for His whole life on earth. How can a God who created this big, wide world be born in the lowliest manger, without any big birth announcements in major newspapers (well, besides the angels telling the shepherds!) and be surrounded by only animals? It was because of His humility and His sacrifice that we were able to experience the most ultimate gift of all: the gift of eternal life because of His sacrifice on the cross. 

Knowing this, how can we respond? Love came down in a manger, with two young parents, but His sacrifice is celebrated year after year. We can respond with gratefulness and also share it with other people when we greet them, celebrate with them and exchange presents with them. Let’s enjoy this holiday, the food, and share about the Ultimate Gift that we have received!


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