The Gift of Gifts
This season of the year is characterized by gifts and giving. So marked has this become, many feel commercialism has destroyed the real message and meaning of Christmas. All kinds of gifts are exchanged: cheap and expensive; vulgar and beautiful; perishable and lasting.
The Bible has much to say about this subject for the word “give” in its various forms occurs no less than two thousand and fifty-nine times in Holy Writ. Its first use is in Genesis 1:15 which reads: “And let them be for lights in the firmament of Heaven to give light upon the earth.” Its last use is by a glorified Christ saying: “And behold, I come quickly: and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). It is interesting to note its first and last use by man. In Genesis 2:20 we have: “And Adam gave names to all cattle … to every beast of the field,” and in Revelation 19:7 the voice of a great multitude is heard saying: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to Him.”
Some wonderful gifts are mentioned in Scripture. To the seed of Abraham God gave the land of Canaan; the believer is given by the Father to the Son. God’s bounty is shown in Matthew 7:7 which declares, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” God is revealed as a God of comfort in the words “He giveth His beloved sleep” (Psa. 127:2).
All of these gifts, great as they are, pale into insignificance as we contemplate God’s Gift of Gifts. Of the many references to this Gift perhaps the following four stand out most significantly. First, “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” John 3:16. Truly the pearl of all Scripture! Second, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (John 4:14). Something really satisfying! Third, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:33). The priceless prize! Fourth, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15). An unfathomable deep!
The Gift of Gifts - The Lord Jesus Christ
The Gift of Gifts is a personal gift, a Person; God the Father gave a Person, His only well-beloved Son, to persons, viz. sinners. He gave this gift to you who read these pages; to me as well.
No doubt you have given gifts which you had planned for some time. Jesus Christ is a planned gift, planned from all eternity in the counsels of God from the beginning.
Christ is, moreover, a promised gift, promised in Genesis chapter three. Four thousand years later the Gift arrived as the Babe of Bethlehem, heralded by an angelic chorus and confirmed by the visit of the Wise Men from the East. He was indeed the first and the greatest Christmas Gift.
Strange as it seems, many would destroy this most wonderful of all gifts. Herod was the first to make such an attempt. Later the religious leaders of His time took counsel to destroy Him. His straightforward ministry roused their envy and finally they accomplished their evil designs and brought about His death.
Even now, in our enlightened age, there are those who would reject this Gift. Indeed the world-wide movement of communism despises God’s gracious offer of eternal life. Many consider it beneath their dignity to recognize the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Indeed, so-called intellectuals in the professing church decry this One and lead astray those whom they should be leading to Christ. To them, as to the Greek intellectuals, “the preaching of the cross is foolishness,” (1 Cor. 1:18).
Disbelief characterizes the vast majority of mankind today. Isaiah cried out in his day, “Who hath believed our report?” (Isa. 53:1) and we might well echo those words in our day. The scripturally recorded facts of his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession and return are the subject of scorn and ridicule by twentieth century Pharisees in the organized churches of Christendom. There will be no atheists, as such, in hell. They will then know that they refused the Gift so freely offered to them.
Vast multitudes are ignorant of the Gift. Jesus said to the woman at Jacob’s well in Sychar; “If thou knewest the Gift of God, and Who it is that saith unto thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). Millions throughout the world have never heard of this One. What a challenge to us who know Him as Christ and Lord! His message to us is, as it was when He departed this earth, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The ignorance of some is due to lack of apprehension. Their minds have been so darkened and dulled by sin they do not understand the simple gospel. Still others lack inclination to know. They are willfully ignorant and prefer to remain that way. Some lack interest and are unconcerned with anything but the pleasures and wealth of society. With them, business comes first and blots out everything else. They are so engrossed with the immediate future they have no thought of their eternal welfare. They don’t realize that the “pleasures of sin are but for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Even a child would not become so taken up with his old toys that he would fail to open the gifts he receives at Christmas.
Perhaps the greatest number who fail to take cognizance of the Gift are those who neglect to receive Him. They do not seek to destroy the Gift: nor are they ignorant of Him or disinterested. They simply procrastinate. They approve of Christ, speak well of Him and some day intend to accept Him as Saviour and Lord. How sad to think that these, like the despisers, rejectors and inveterate enemies of Christ will have their place in a lost Eternity! Surely at this Christmas Season, if you belong to this latter class, you will take heed and consider your final end and accept this most wonderful of all Gifts. Remember what Scripture says, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
“O what a gift the Father gave,
When He bestowed His Son,
To save poor, ruined, guilty man,
By sin defiled, undone!
O what a Gift! His praise shall be
Forever on my tongue,
And mine shall be the loudest praise
That ransomed soul hath sung!
Come all who trust in Jesus now,
And tell our joys abroad;
Let thankful hymns of praise ascend
For Christ, the Gift of God!” (Midlane)