A reflection on the unsearchable gift of God
As we now return to the Christmas season, we begin the merry task of gift searching and giving. Out of a show of our love and affection to family and friends (and partially with a sense of obligation) we will give them carefully thought out and meaningful gifts, all within a reasonable budget. However, we often find that we end up giving and receiving things that we don’t really want, and things we hardly need. C.S. Lewis observed that, ‘Things are given as presents which no mortal ever bought for himself – gaudy and useless gadgets, “novelties” because no one was ever fool enough to make their like before’. This certainly brings to mind the remote control helicopters/cars and a mini pool table I received that never even lasted Christmas day. However, I have always greatly appreciated the wonderful family times that Christmas has brought with it, where all my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews have come together for a time of loving fellowship in my parents’ house. This aspect of Christmas brings us closer to its real meaning than the cheap commercial gifts.
God’s gift to us
It is at this time we as Christians especially remember the wonderful gift that God has given to all men: the Lord Jesus Christ. Of him we are told that he is ‘Emanuel’, which means ‘God with us’. We are told that he is ‘the image of the invisible God’ so that in him we can see clearly who God is and what he is like. One thing we can clearly learn from him is that God loves the whole world and every man, woman and child within it. We hear it said by Jesus himself to a man called Nicodemus that, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).
Here then we have God’s great gift to us, his own Son, Jesus Christ. We are told that he is ‘the true Light which gives light to every man’ (John 1:9). In him we see how God desires man to be, that we should always be loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and might and loving our neighbours as ourselves. We see from his acts of love and pity that he is the perfect man. However, much more than being the perfect example of human godly behaviour, we also learn that he is very God! We see this by his mighty miracles. Turning water into wine, the instant healing of the sick, making the lame walk, feeding of 5,000 men from five loaves and two small fish, walking on water, giving sight to a man blind from birth and raising Lazarus from the dead by a single command. All these recorded miracles show us and convince many that this Jesus truly is the Son of God, and that he has authority over all nature and humanity.
Why God gives
So we know who God’s gift to man is and who he truly was. Now to fully understand that wonder of God’s gift we shall look at why he came at all to this world. We find that the answer to this question is in the name of the gift himself! ‘And you will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins’ (Matt. 1:21). These were the words of the angel to Joseph concerning the child that was to be born of the virgin Mary, the gift of God to man. It is he to whom was given the heavenly task, planned from eternity within God’s Trinity, to make a way for we lost men and women to be saved from our sins and to bring us back to God. The Son took the task gladly and willingly, ‘full of grace and truth’, and ‘full of compassion’ for us. He came and dealt with our biggest problem, our sins before a Holy God.
This gospel in summed up in a few words by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: ‘For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures’ (1 Cor. 15:3-4). He lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserved and rose again for our justification, seated at the right hand of God, so that by simply trusting and putting our faith in him, our sins are forgiven and we are at last right with the living God.
This then is the gift of God to man – a restored relationship with the triune God through the saving work of Christ Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. All we can do in response is to trust in what God has done in Jesus. We cannot possibly understand it, it’s too vast and incomprehensible! Salvation is of the Lord; it is his gift to us and that is how we are to receive it, by humble faith in Christ and turning away from sins. So let us remember these things and rejoice.