Don’t Return the Gift
Perhaps you are considering exchanging or have already exchanged some Christmas gifts. You might appreciate the thought behind some gifts but would really rather have something else.
A statement sometimes spoken by a recipient of a gift to the giver is, “You really shouldn’t have.” Now, while that is normally considered a compliment, suggesting that the gift is extravagant or that the recipient is not deserving of such great kindness, at times the recipient means, “You really shouldn’t have, because this isn’t what I want.” That this is often the hidden meaning is made obvious by the long lines at special counters set up just to take care of post-Christmas exchanges.
This flurried gift exchange might be no big deal, but there is one gift that is not to be exchanged. That is the real gift of Christmas, Jesus. Of this gift you might say to God, “You really shouldn’t have”, but it was the only way God could win you back into right relationship with Him. This gift, the gift of His Son, your Savior, is the only gift that can bring true meaning and purpose to your life. It is the only gift that lasts forever. Why would you ever want to exchange this gift of life, this gift of a growing relationship with God through Jesus?
Well, it’s sort of like receiving a beautiful plant. Sure, it’s great to have around for a few days to look at, but it can seem like too much to have to take care of. Why not just exchange it for an attractive artificial plant? It’s sort of like receiving a baby pet. Sure, it’s cute and adorable, sort of like the baby Jesus, but it can be a hassle to live with day in and day out. It can seem restricting and demanding to have around all the time. Why not just exchange it and get a computer screen saver of baby animals?
Get the idea? You can be tempted to exchange the real gift of Christmas, which is right relationship with God through His Son,Jesus, with a convenient and more comfortable relationship with your worldly desires apart from God. You can be tempted to exchange a living relationship with God for what you might think will be more satisfying for your life in this world. You can say in your heart to God, “You really shouldn’t have”, meaning, “Thanks for the gift of Jesus, but I don’t really want to have Him in my life all year long to listen to and follow.”
But don’t do it! Don’t exchange the gift. Sure it can be demanding at times and make you shift your priorities and what is important to you, but the gift of right relationship with God through Jesus is priceless. There is nothing you could exchange it for that would be anywhere near as wonderful. Keep the gift. Thank God for it every day. Hold it close to your heart. You will really be so much more satisfied with it than anything you could exchange it for.
Spreading, Serving and Sharing with You,