By Sheryl Tay, Singapore
Christmas is often called the season of giving, and where there is the act of giving, there will also be the act of receiving.
Every Christmas, my friends and I celebrate at a friend’s house and the highlight of the occasion would be the gift exchange. One year, we decided to conduct the gift exchange as a game. Each time someone opened a present, the others could choose to “steal” the gift, if they so desire to have that present. At the end of the game, everyone is happy. For all of us received the gift that we want.
Think of a gift you have been most satisfied with in your life. Would you be able to enjoy it if you hadn’t first chosen to accept and receive it?
When writing to the church in Ephesus, Apostle Paul reminds them about a wonderful gift that they have received. He writes, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NET). The unmerited grace of God has provided the gift of salvation to anyone who put their faith in Christ Jesus, His Son.
Apostle John also talks about this gift of salvation. He writes, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NET). God’s love for the world is demonstrated in the giving of His Son for us, so that we may have eternal life through Christ.
Jesus makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God (1 Peter 3:18 NET). He brought us to God, giving us the opportunity to have an everlasting relationship with Him. This relationship that we have with our heavenly Father is one in which we would be thoroughly satisfied, as written in one of King David’s psalms, where he sang to God, “Because experiencing your loyal love is better than life itself, my lips will praise you. For this reason I will praise you while I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. As if with choice meat you satisfy my soul. My mouth joyfully praises you” (Psalm 63:3-5 NET).
The gift of eternal life that we have received through Christ is best enjoyed with this soul-satisfying relationship with our Heavenly Father. So let’s celebrate God’s gift of love this season by rejoicing in praise and thanksgiving!
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer