And Yet He Still Wants to Gift Us
Dec 25, 2016 03:28AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
The disrespect was heavy in the air. I had removed a privilege after several warnings. At this point, even if he apologized and his attitude shaped up, I was not giving the iPod Touch back to my son. Trust had to be rebuilt. I’m big on consequences; they offer the offender time to ponder how his or her actions could have gone differently, yielding a better outcome for all.
And yet, even when steam was coming out of my nostrils over the offense, I still thought with eagerness about the gifts I had for him under the Christmas tree. As fed up and disappointed as I was with this son at the time, I could picture the joy I would feel seeing him open what I had chosen for him with such care. My mother’s heart never considered not gifting him…not for one second.
I remember as a child worrying that one bad choice, one small lie or mouth-off was going to land me coal in my Christmas stocking. I found it both to be relief and a huge shock to find wrapped treats inside instead. Even though, looking back now, I know I was a very well-behaved child overall, my sense of right and wrong (and heavy doses of self-condemnation) stalked me day and night. I did not feel worthy. How could I receive a gift?
Several years ago, I dragged my heart heavy, depressed, and ashamed to church among the fellowship of believers. If they knew what I had almost done the year before, how could they ever get past it? I was tainted and marked. I hadn’t trusted God enough. I took my eyes off His love, His promises, His victory on the cross on my behalf.
What about you? How do you come to Christmas morning this year? Maybe you have joy and peace, in which case, I celebrate with you!
But what if you don’t? What if you come not feeling worthy of the Gift given you in that manger long ago?
Well, here’s some good news and some bad news for you:
You’re right. You’re not worthy—not on your own merit. That’s for sure.
I’m not either.
But because God sent His Son Jesus, you are worthy. He declared you worth fighting for in the heavenly realms. He faced off death and won, essentially telling Satan:
“You can’t touch this. He/she belongs to Me.”
No matter what we have done, it is only the deceptive shadow the enemy of our souls casts over God’s Truth that makes us think we are still unworthy. If we take our eyes off our Savior, we are vulnerable to the liar whispering our past to us, our moments of sin and shame, saying they are not cancelled.
I assure you, friend, if you’ve confessed them, they are indeed cancelled.
Psalm 103:11-13, ESV
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Jesus said: “It is finished!”
If we keep our eyes focused on Him and don’t look away, we see our chains fallen to the wayside, no longer weighing us down. We only think they are still clattering there when we crawl in our shame, head down. When we fully understand we are a new creation in Christ, we come freely to Christmas morning to celebrate the Sacrifice offered to us, the Gift freely given.
You see, He still wants to gift us.
2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Our moments on the “naughty list” can be cleared by Christ. We need to confess and then confidently walk toward the Gifter.
Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
As much as many of us wouldn’t give our children coal on Christmas, God the Father wants to give us only good things.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Through the grace of His Son Jesus, we can start fresh. His mercies are new every morning and His love everlasting.
Lamentations 3:21-23, ESV
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
On Christmas morning, I will forget the irritation and discipline moments of the week and will love each child equally and without end. It doesn't matter if one has been exceptionally respectful all week and another one struggled. Each one can come and receive what I want to give them.
Do you believe this about your heavenly Father?
I hope you do! It’s the miracle of Christmas, my friend!
We are sinners in need of grace—
—and yet He still wants to gift us!
Won’t you let Him this Christmas?
Come unhindered to the Christ child.
Lay your burdens down.
Surrender to your Savior.
The Father wrapped His love in a swaddling baby in a manger, on a cross, and in a comforting presence, the Holy Spirit, which you are invited to have as yet another Gift as you believe.
Immanuel, God with us, is here.
The Gift is still under the tree. If you haven’t already, please, go open it! It’s waiting for you!
Christmas joy and the peace of Christ to all of you,
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.