5) God’s inexpressible gift
Giving gifts is a well-known tradition associated with Christmas. Lots of people who don’t know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour love giving and receiving gifts at Christmas time. How can we help our unsaved friends to take a closer look at this tradition, giving us an opportunity to explain the real meaning of Christmas? Why not ask them, “Do you know why people give each other gifts at Christmas?”
You can continue the conversation by explaining that the tradition of giving gifts began when God gave the special gift of his Messiah. Isaiah prophesied that God would send his Messiah and this gift would be for everyone. We read in Isaiah 9:6,“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”. Then in chapter 49:6 he says of the Messiah,“you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
No wonder the Scripture exclaims,“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”(1 Corinthians 9:15) Perhaps we need to reflect on what this gift means. Any gift by its very nature is something we receive. It is not something we deserve. It is not something we have a right to, neither should we feel we must pay for it. This is the last thing the giver wants us to do! The appropriate response of the receiver is simply to accept the gift with thanks.
Suppose I was a guest in your home and you served me a cup of coffee. What would you think if I tried to pay you for it? Wouldn’t you be shocked, even offended? That’s because hospitality is a gift. You would never think of accepting payment for it. It’s a gift to be received. However, hospitality is also a gift we can all give – not only to our family and friends but also to the poor and refugees who may be outside our comfort zone.
In the OT Moses instructed the Israelites to celebrate the good things the Lord had given them and their households. Then he added, “Remember to include … the foreigners living among you in the celebration.”(Deut. 26:11)
God has given us a priceless gift. There is no way anyone can repay God for what he has done. Romans 11:35-36 speaks of God when it says,“Who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
What pleases God is when we believe and receive the incredible free gift of salvation that cost him so much. But what pleases him even more is when we share it with others. Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate what God has done for us but also to open our hearts, our homes and our tables so that others can also discover the greatest gift of all, Jesus.“Freely you received, freely give.”(Matt. 10:8)
All Bible quotes are taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated.