My friend Christie sent this email.... I loved it so much I just had to post.
When I first read this message I thought of Julie’s Christmas Letter and how she and Holt have chosen not to purchase Christmas Gifts this year and to put more of the true meaning into Christmas. How often do we get so busy that we fail to recognize the one Bible Verse we all have memorized even those that do not believe in Christ? "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)
Such a simple verse but boy does it hold 4 of God’s Special Gifts to each of us. I hope as each of you and your families celebrate Christmas you can reflect on each of God’s gifts! Each of you are very special to me! Merry Christmas!
Four Special Gifts
I love everything about the holiday season, and Christmas morning is no exception. As I watch my family members excitedly unwrap their gifts, I find myself truly understanding the meaning of the phrase, "It is better to give than to receive."
As much as I love giving gifts, I admit that I love receiving them too! I can't help but be excited about a pretty box with a big bow with my name scribbled on the tag. Recently I began thinking about all the gifts that God gives me throughout the year, and then realized that I often forget to thank Him for those gifts.
Our key verse today really wraps up the true meaning of Christmas. In this one little verse we are given four amazing gifts. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we got as excited about the gifts of God, as we do the gifts under our tree?
The first of these gifts is love. God loves us more than we can imagine - more than we can love our children, our spouses, or our family. He loves us with a measure of love we cannot understand. For some, the holidays are a difficult time.. They may bring feelings of loneliness and being unloved more than any other time of the year. Through this verse, we learn the magnitude of God's love.
The second gift is His son; His only begotten son Jesus Christ. God not only gave Jesus in birth to live as man, but to die as man as well. He gave the gift of Jesus' life as our example, and the gift of payment for our sins through His death. He paid the ultimate penalty so that our slates are wiped clean in heaven.
The third is the gift of faith. We can believe in Him -- for life, for love, and for the power to overcome. Power to overcome even death. This gift requires trust, and helps us get through every day, every circumstance, and every period of trouble. It is a gift that offers a holy hand to hold and a holy shoulder to cry on. A gift that holds the answers of hope and joy.
The fourth and most precious gift is the gift of eternal life. This gift promises a secure future: a life after death, free of pain and suffering. It is a gift we do not deserve, can never repay, and will not fully understand or appreciate until we are face to face with Jesus for eternity.
If you handpicked a special gift for someone and they pushed it aside or discarded it, I imagine your feelings would be hurt, as would mine. I wonder how God feels when He gives mankind these four priceless gifts and so many choose not to accept them?
As we celebrate the holidays, we'll get excited about presents, even though eventually most of those gifts will be forgotten, broken, or discarded. But God's gifts never expire, never spoil, never break, and never perish. The gifts of heavenly love, a Savior, faith and abundant eternal life are given to each one of us. We have the choice to unwrap and enjoy them or push them aside.
God has four special gifts for you this holiday, and on the tag your name is written in red. Will you remember to unwrap these gifts this season?
Dear Lord, Forgive me for taking for granted the amazing gifts that You have blessed me with in life, and for eternity. I praise You for who You are, and for being so willing to pour Your gifts into my life when I humbly reach out to You. Help me remember that You truly are the reason for this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.