Excerpted from the November / December 2014 issue of Christian Woman Magazine.
Christmas is too commercialized. The stores set up Christmas displays in October; parking is terrible; the crowds are unbelievable; and everyone just wants to buy, buy, buy. Maybe you have felt that the newspaper ads, television commercials and the eagerly anticipated “wish books” are akin to big-time information overload. Burying your head under a pillow until Dec. 26 just might sound like a great idea to you.
But I have a confession to make: I love the commercialism of Christmas. My family celebrates the holidays as a season for spending time together and exchanging presents, and I love it. Especially the exchanging presents part. I love to come up with gift ideas. I love to make shopping lists. I even love to read the ads. The excitement builds as I wait for the Sunday paper to arrive so I can scour all the sales, looking for the best deals on gifts for my family and friends.
I receive great pleasure in spending time and effort on something that will bring happiness to a person I love. The thrill of the search, all-day shopping excursions, and the moment of success when the perfect gift is found culminates in a perfect holiday season for me. Then, when a gift is opened, whether it is an antique steamer trunk for my daughter-in-law or a tennis racket for my grandson, the recipient knows that I thoughtfully picked out that present specifically with him or her in mind.
Do you suppose God feels the same way? Does it bring Him joy to give to His children? Does He delight in giving each one of us just what we need? God has given us innumerable blessings: the beautiful world in which we live, the food we eat, our family and friends, the air that we breathe, our very lives.
James 1:17-18 reminds us that God chooses to give us every good and perfect gift. These are not just recycled presents or last-minute choices; these are thoughtful gifts that are good and perfect. What joy it must bring to our Father to lavish us with so much goodness!
Some of God’s gifts are bestowed upon everyone, whether they ever pause to thank Him or not (Matthew 5:45). But one gift, the greatest gift of all, must be acknowledged, even though it is freely given: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 nasb). This gift is found in Christ, and the worth of the gift we receive by choosing to be baptized into His death is priceless (vv. 3-4). No gift can compare to the promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord.
In 2 Corinthians 9:15, Paul poured out his gratitude when he wrote, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” The King James Version calls it “the unspeakable gift”; the New Century Version uses “the gift too wonderful for words.” According to Barnes’ Notes, the word translated indescribable has the meaning in the original language of unutterable, the idea being that it is higher than language can express, greater than the mind can conceive. Matthew Henry in his commentary wrote, “It should seem rather that it means Jesus Christ, who is indeed the unspeakable gift of God unto this world, a gift we have all reason to be very thankful for.”
The first chapter of Ephesians describes how God planned to give us this and other great gifts before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:5). In sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins, God lavished us with every spiritual blessing that is possible (v. 8). How thankful we should be that God loved us enough to know exactly what we would need in order to be His children. He provided a Savior in the person of His own Son Jesus Christ.
In the Bible we read how Christ died for the church, for the world, for all people (2 Corinthians 5:15). But I love knowing that Christ was given for me. He gave His life as a gift to me. Whatever else we might receive from someone who loves us, none of us will ever enjoy a more personal, meaningful gift than that.
Giving presents to the people we love brings us great joy. God must surely feel that same happiness in providing such a wonderful gift to His creation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Thank you, Father, for Your indescribable gift!
Wanda Robinson and her husband, Wendell, work with the Graymere Church of Christ in Columbia, Tenn., where he is a minister. She teaches classes for ladies, coordinates part of the preschool department, and works with other ministries including the jail ministry. She loves attending her grandchildren’s ballgames and shopping. Wanda has a new women’s Bible study book, Unsung Heroes (and a Few Villains) coming in Feb. 2015.