Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 6-7; Isaiah 40
Christmas is a time that we give and receive gifts. We hear squeals of joy, excited laughter, and folks saying things like “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” or “This is just perfect!” People ask what others want for Christmas so that they can get them the perfect gift. It’s a time of gift giving that is equaled by no other time of the year.
It’s easy, in all the excitement to forget about one amazing gift: God’s gift to us. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” God sent His gift of grace in the form of a little baby in a manger. Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty for our sins and we, instead of living separated from God eternally, are able to live with Him forever. God’s grace made the difference. No one can lay claim to eternal life by their own efforts – it is only through God’s gift of grace. The ability to believe and accept is part of that gift of grace. We look forward to heaven. We are only able to look forward to heaven, though, because God made it possible through His gift of Jesus Christ.
What if someone gave you a gift and they told you it was the most amazing gift ever – but you left it on the counter and didn’t open it. That gift wouldn’t do you much good. Many people have resisted accepting the gift of God because it might change their lives. As one who shut down my resistance, as one who has seen god change my life, I can only tell you that I wish I had opened this amazing gift earlier in life. I saw someone recently who wore a shirt that said, “This is NOT the life I planned for!” as a complaint. I read it and thanked God that He had given me a far better life than I had planned for when He gave me the gift of His grace. If you haven’t opened up that gift from God, it’s not too late for you to accept that same gift and open it up now. The grace of God is the greatest gift of all.