Valley City Times-Record

The best gift ever given

- Pastor Beckstrand Pastor Foster Beckstrand Dazey Assembly of God Church, Dazey, ND

This time of year is so interestin­g!! When it comes to Christmas, there is a wide range of thoughts. Like the one person I talked to at the store the other day. She was all done with all of her shopping. We have others trying to get Christmas decorating done, plan for holiday parties, and trying to squeeze some shopping time in!

Then there is the person that is still trying to catch up with Thanksgivi­ng, let alone Christmas!

Maybe before we get too much further into this Christmas season, it wouldn’t hurt for all of us to have an attitude check, and pause to take a breath be reminded of the true meaning of gift giving and remember the true meaning of Christmas!

I heard that someone actually tried to calculate how much it would cost to give the gifts named in the classic song, “The 12 days of Christmas”. The grand total came to about $15,000. Some items were affordable, like a partridge in a pear tree for $34.99. Six turtledove­s will run you somewhere around $50. Six geese-a-laying will cost around $150. The price takes off when you add 11 pipers for $1,000 and the 12 Lordsa-leaping which are also $1,000! The price really soars when you add 12 Lord’s-a-leaping which is $3,000! Nothing compares to the value of the greatest gift every given which was Jesus Christ being born as a babe so many years ago!

What was so unique about the gift of Jesus Christ that God the Father gave? First of all God’s gift was a complete surprise. When Christmas rolls around, you often try to figure out if certain people have bought that gift you really wanted. Maybe you already know what they bought, because they didn’t hide it very well. Or maybe you uncovered by accident or maybe not. But when the day comes and you open the present, you have to pretend you’re surprised. Yet all along, you knew what it was. God’s gift to us, however, was a complete surprise. It was unexpected, and as you examine it more carefully, you realize how great a gift it actually was. 2 Cor. 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for his indescriba­ble gift!”

The Second thing we notice about God’s gift is it came in the most humblest of wrappings. What would you think if you saw a gift under the tree was wrapped in newspaper and tied with a string? At first, you would assumed that a guy wrapped it!! But think about God’s gift to us. Jesus was not born in a palace of Gold, He was born in a stable. He was clothed with rags. He was laid in a feeding trough. Yet these things do not, in any way, diminish the story of Christ’ birth. If anything, they help us realize the great sacrifice God made for us. God’s gift to humanity, the ultimate gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, came in the simplest and most humblest of wrappings. Phil 2:67 says, “Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

One more thing we see in the greatest gift of Jesus Christ is that we did not deserve this gift! At Christmas we give gifts to those whom we care about, who have been kind to us over the past year, or who have given us a gift first. We don’t give gifts to someone who has been mean or has not been nice to us. Yet God Gave us His gift when we were His enemies. He didn’t give us this gift because we have deserved it! In Fact, it was just the opposite. The bible tells us in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrat­es his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We deserved judgement, but received Grace! We were guilty but receive his mercy!

Each of us deserved the worst, but received the best. Rom. 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord. I can’t think of any greater gift to receive than the gift of Jesus. He came to be born as a babe, lived and helped many people on this earth and then died on a cross for you and me. Why not make this one of the best Christmase­s ever by saying please forgive me Jesus, I receive you into my life!

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