Christmas is not about giving.
Did I just type that – on purpose?
I suppose it’s a matter of how you view Christmas, and how you view God.
At Christmas, we do recognize an awesome Giver.
God in Heaven, who “so loved” all of us that He “gave” Jesus Christ to the world, is the Giver of every good and perfect gift! His generous, compassionate gifts are blessings we should never take for granted.
True Christmas begins and ends with Jesus Christ. He’s the Son of God (John 3). He’s the “Word became flesh” (John 1). He’s the “Resurrection and the Life” (John 14). He’s truly the “Light of the World” (John 8).
Starting with Jesus Christ, God’s gifts are for us, for our good, and for His glory.
God gives… we receive…
He is the ultimate giver. He gives generously to all without finding fault. He provides, protects, and forgives. He also graciously brings to justice (in His time) those who do evil and rebel against Him.
In response to God’s gifts, we are to position our hearts and our lives to actually receive these gifts!
Consider how God Himself refers to Jesus Christ, the indescribable gift – “Yet as many as received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to be called children of God” (John 1:12).
God gives… we receive…
In life, it is hard for most of us to simply receive a gift. We aren’t very good at “receiving” a gift, and we wrestle with various attitudes in response to gifts.
Some of us wrestle with entitlement surrounding gifts, and fail to appreciate the giver. “I deserved this,” we think, and it’s just part of Christmas. Thoughts creep in like, “I wanted something else… something better… more gifts, please!”
Others feel burdened to repay someone for a gift. A distant relative brings a gift for you, and you didn’t bring one for them. Before you know it, you’re in the next room on Amazon.com buying their “payback” gift to ease your conscience. We want to trade even or earn a gift.
But God gives… we receive.
God gives you time, talent, treasure, personality, friendships, and life! God gives us resources, opportunities, thoughts, directions, comfort, and hope!
Without God, I have nothing. You have nothing.
Before I have anything to give, I must first receive what God has given.
I must admit my personal need for everything God has already given.
I must express thanks and acknowledge the countless blessings I’ve received.
I must believe that I don’t deserve these and couldn’t earn these things.
I must walk humbly, knowing that (without God) my life has nothing worthwhile to contribute to anyone else’s.
God gives… we receive.
God gives each one of us life and breath, and we are all made in His image (Genesis 1). Every day is a privilege, full of opportunity to grow and experience God’s world!
Receive these gifts. This Christmas, thank Him and seek His wisdom and guidance to pursue a God-honoring life. As we follow Him, we have hope and faith and love to give to others!
God gives us an awareness of right and wrong, whether in our consciences or in Scripture.
Receive these gifts! Learn to admit your mistakes, confess sins, and seek His righteousness for better decisions and lifestyles. As we learn from Him, we have insights and experiences and empathy to give to others!
God gives us a Baby in a manger who would grow up to be King of the Universe… who died on the Cross to rescue us from sin and death.
Receive this gift! Believe in Him and live His way and grow closer to Jesus through prayer and His Word. As we come alive in Him, we have life and salvation and truth to share with others!
But let’s make no mistake about it. If we aren’t receiving God’s gifts and work in our lives, then we have nothing of real value to give. Before we set out to give, to love, or to serve others, we must learn to receive what God has given us.
God gives… do you receive?