07 December 2008


Isaiah 9:1-2; 6-7

1 … but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

It has become acceptable and even expected for a person to exchange and/or return an unwanted gift. That’s what a lot of folks do on the day after Christmas. Stores seem to be just as crowded on the 26th of December as they are on “Black Friday” and merchants wrap up the shopping season with that last blast of bargain hunters. If you don’t like what someone gave you, it’s no problem; just take it back and exchange it for something you’ll like better. Your gift-giver may even considerately include the specific “return” slip from the store to make the exchange more convenient for you. What a concept! Re-gifting, however, is tacky and not acceptable. If you get caught re-wrapping a gift and giving it to someone else, or horror of horrors, giving it back to the person who gave you the gift, well, imagine the embarrassment!

God gave us a gift greater than anything we could ever hope for. He gave us His son, Jesus. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” [John 3:16-17 NLT]. This unique gift keeps on giving. We receive the gift of salvation when we take Jesus into our hearts as our personal savior, confess our sins and repent, and confirm our belief that Jesus is God’s son who died on the cross for us and rose from the dead three days later. We receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” [Galatians 5:22-23]. We receive these precious gifts, not because we are worthy or are entitled, but because God loves us.

God’s gift of love has no end. It’s impossible to measure or weigh. It’s not intended to be contained or withheld. “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light” [Luke 8:16]. We are given an abundance to share with everyone we see and all who hear our voices. We’ll never run out because we’re always refilled. Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 26:39]. It’s okay to re-gift love; we’re encouraged to give it to others.

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