THE UNOPENED GIFT
Christmas had come and gone once again. The family had all gathered together, eaten grandma's cinnamon rolls, laughed, talked, opened presents, eaten a large holiday dinner, watched football, napped, said their goodbyes and left. Such a buildup for such a short time of pleasure. Shopping had been going on for a couple months, plans made for who would bring which dish for the “Christmas feast,” decorating the house (inside and out), and wrapping presents. But now, it was all over for another year. The children were overwhelmed with all the toys which will most likely be broken, lost, or forgotten in four months. Adults expressed their gratitude for gifts they honestly didn't need or like. What is the meaning of all this???
The tree and decorations were left in place for a few weeks, and then taken down and put in storage boxes in the attic for another year. But then, a gift was noticed, sitting alone in the corner, unwrapped, untouched, actually with layers of dust collected on its surface. Now you wouldn't think a group of excited, happy, anticipating people would leave a gift untouched…but there it was. This gift wasn't only abandoned this year—it has been abandoned for people's lifetimes, for generations, for centuries!
Have you noticed how people judge the value of a gift? For example, an item from an expensive jewelry store versus a T-shirt from Walmart? It's assumed that if the giver paid more for the item, it must mean they cared more. Also, people notice how a gift is wrapped—with beautiful wrapping paper, a ribbon and bow, or a brown paper bag. Why wasn't the unopened gift sitting in the corner appealing to someone? Did they assume it had no value? Was the wrapping unattractive?
Before Christmas, how many times are you asked, “What would you like for Christmas?” When you're a child, the first thing you think of is a toy. Teenagers would probably prefer an electronic device, while those older would prefer gift cards so they could spend them on any whim, or impulse, they might have. As you get older, it becomes more difficult because you've had many things in your life, and you realize they're all very temporary. There truly isn't much you need or want. You also begin to realize it is the “intangible” things that count—the smile on a child's face; the love between two people, the firm handshake of an old friend, the beauty of nature, and music. That is why it's common to hear older people respond to this question by saying: “world peace,” “unity,” “quiet,” “harmony,” etc. These gifts are hard to find, especially in our day and age! May I ask you that same question: “What would you like for Christmas?”
Perhaps no one thought this unopened package was meant for them; but, if they had only taken the time to examine the tag, they would see it says: “TO – WHOSOEVER BELIEVES.” Now, if it had just said “Whosoever,” it might have been opened, but that second word may have caused pause. By “believing,” is there a requirement or commitment? Many people prefer to make up their own “belief system” to be compatible with their current life style.
Yes, there is a condition for receiving this gift. And, yes, this is a gift of immeasurable value.
How much did this gift cost? Well, the Giver suffered mocking, indignity, terrible torture and a terrible death to pay for this gift. Have you ever seen a “gift” that cost that much? He knew what the cost would be, and had the choice of withholding it, but He didn't. Why? Because He loved “Whosoever Would Receive It” much more than the suffering it would cost Him.
So, I hope you're asking, what does this gift contain? Well for starters: love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Could you use these characteristics in your life? Also, “eternal life” or immortality—living with the Giver of this gift ~ Forever!
Oh, and He promised you would have “abundant life,” beginning with the opening of this gift! He also promised He would return to personally take you with Him to a place He has been preparing for you—a place where there is no death, no sickness, no sorrow, no crime, no violence, no disappointment, no tears, no fear, no immorality, no sin, no lying, stealing, or hatred. He promised to put His spirit within you, so that He would always be with you. You can call on Him anytime, anywhere, and He is there!
This gift is why there is a CHRISTmas. The gift is Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, who came to this earth two thousand plus years ago to deliver this gift. He gave up His throne in Heaven to become a man, remained sinless Himself, but took the penalty for the sins of everyone who would believe in Him and accept His gift of salvation. I'm sure you've heard these verses from the Bible, but perhaps now they might have more meaning for you.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
I recently saw a news report that said people would spend some 40+ billion (billion with a b), dollars on Christmas gifts this year. Unfortunately none of the gifts will satisfy. In less than a year from now, we'll be doing the same thing over again. I am telling you about one gift that DOES satisfy, not for just a lifetime, but forever!
1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. Or unless you never believed it in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”
Romans 10:9-11: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
If you haven't opened God's gift, please don't delay another minute! Open your heart and receive His free gift of forgiveness and salvation. It will give you a joy and peace that the world can't understand. You will become a member of a large family of people who also believe and understand. It will give you a desire to pass it on to others who have been too busy, or clinging to a life that is full of worldly things that will never satisfy the heart.
I pray this will be the most blessed of any Christmas you've ever had. The True meaning of Christmas changes a person's life and outlook. It gives hope that nothing else offers, and it's there just waiting to be opened and received.
May God Bless you and keep you, and always walk with you.