The prophet Isaiah said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)
Before the idea of radical gift giving, Isaiah announced that the greatest gift was being given to the world. December tends to be the month we give the most to those we love, and even, sometimes, to those we feel are not deserving.
In this announcement, God is giving the gift of salvation to all; those who are deserving and those who are not. This gift carries the burden of all our sins and wipes all our slates clean.
As we shop this season to purchase gifts for our loved ones, let us not forget the needy. Let us share the spirit of giving and love with everyone, the lovable and the unlovable. Let us share the peace of Christ with all who we encounter, just as God loved us and shared His greatest gift, the gift of Christ.
The book of Luke proclaims: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke:2:8-12, NIV)
When we wrap our gifts of love in pretty paper and place them under the Christmas tree, let us remember that our Savior was wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a manger. Remember that it is not about the wrapping, but what’s inside that matters.
Lastly, we find these words in the book of John: “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.”
When we look at this season through the lens of scripture, we find that the greatest gift ever given comes from God. It is a gift that we can never outgrow, lose, or even give away. This gift came from the greatest heart and has been freely given without any strings attached.
This season, try to emulate and give love from your heart, without any strings attached to everyone you meet.
Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Thompson is pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Okatie.