The simple idea of giving gifts at Christmastime has exploded to an almost unimaginable level of extravagance. It has become about giving, or maybe getting, the biggest and the best and the most. But no matter how early the shopping season starts or how many credit cards are maxed out or how many billions of dollars are spent in the course of history, nothing can match that very first Christmas gift. Nothing is worth more. Nothing is more valuable and yet priceless. Certainly nothing means more than Jesus. And what God did, in addition to giving us a Savior, was show us how to give.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God gave because He loved. That was His original motive. That love at the heart of it all compelled Him to give the greatest gift ever given. But He gave it willingly. It was His choice to give His Son to pay for our sins. And He gives something precious and valuable. Jesus was His only begotten Son, and there would never be another. Jesus is totally unique, and nothing can replace Him. And even so, God was willing to make that sacrifice. But mostly God gave because we needed what He was offering so desperately. Our lives and our eternity depend on it.
And now we can give. And exchanging gifts with loved ones is nice, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. And we can give to those in need, and that is something God wants us to do. But the ultimate response to that gift we’ve been given is to give God one of our own—to give, out of love, our lives to Him, willingly and even sacrificially. And maybe this year we can focus not so much on those material gifts that we exchange, but the gift of giving, as we give love and kindness and hope to those around us.