by | Dec 9, 2021 | Christmas, Gifts, Giving, Salvation

It’s that time of year again: The favorite time of year for kids, the stressful time of year for adults! The Christmas season is upon us!

As I think about Christmas this year, the first thing that comes to my mind is presents.

That’s what Christmas is all about, right? The gifts we give and receive?

It’s true that gifts aren’t really one of my strong love languages. Nonetheless, that’s what it’s all about, right?

As a teacher, there were two times  a year when I knew I could expect gifts: The last day of school, and Christmas! My students would bring gifts to school — gifts for me and for each other — and they were happy. Happy to be receiving gifts, yes, but even more so, happy to be giving them.

It was interesting to me to see how many classes seemed to follow specific themes. It’s like all the parents got together and said, “Okay, it’s a ____ year! Everyone get Mr. Chaffart a _____!” One year it was mugs. I came home with so many Christmas mugs! Another year it was ornaments. My wife liked those; nd to be perfectly honest, they were some of my favorites as well. To this day I love pulling those ornaments out of their boxes and hanging them on the tree. They make me remember long-forgotten but oh, so special students!

As we think about the whole concept of gifts this year, I’d like to suggest that you pay attention to the whole process of giving out gifts this year. Notice how you plan what you want to give each person. Sometimes you just “know”, but other times, not so much. Sometimes you can work off of a wishlist, and sometimes you just stroll through the aisles of your local department store until something jumps out at you and you have identified the “perfect” gift for that special person on our list!

Notice then how you carefully plan on how and when to purchase the gift. Sometimes you have it shipped directly to the person. Other times you have it shipped directly to your own home. And still other times, you go to the store and pick it up yourself.

Then there’s the plan for how to wrap it. What kind of a box should it go in? What colour paper? What about ribbons and bows?

The next question is when to put it under the tree. If you have a cat at home, perhaps you won’t put it out until just before Christmas. Otherwise, the cat might open it for you! I remember back when we had a cat, my wife would put beautifully-wrapped items under the tree, only to return a few minutes later to see that the beautiful bows were now being chased across the floor by a four-legged fur-baby, and there would be a tear in the paper where that bow had once stuck to the package…

Yes, I think we would all agree that although it’s fun to receive gifts, the real joy comes from giving them.

But what if your gift isn’t well received?

Suddenly the joy of giving is completely stamped out. After all, all that time and love and effort needs to be appreciated!

No Christmas devotional would stop without taking this one step further. Jesus gave us the best present ever. He spent hundreds, even thousands of years preparing it. He planned it to come at just the right time, and He even wrapped it up in a special “package” — the “package” of a human baby. The gift? Himself. He did it out of love, and I can just imagine the joy He had in preparing this gift! Of course, He knew that this gift to us would ultimately result in His suffering and death, but He loved us so much that He gave the gift anyway: “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); “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2b NIV)

Unfortunately, so many do not accept His gift. Many know about His gift, and maybe they have even accepted it, but with the hustle of the Christmas season, they hardly even remember what it was that Jesus did. I can only imagine how sad this must make Jesus feel!

As Christmas approaches this year, as you go about finding and preparing the best possible gifts for the people on your list, remember that Jesus also lovingly prepared a gift for you! It’s the gift we celebrate this Christmas. Take the time to spend extra time with Jesus this year. Meditate on His precious gift to you, then spend some time praising Him for His unfailing love. For when you do, you will be showing Jesus’ gift the appreciation it deserves!

In His love,
Rob Chaffart