December 15, 2009
The Ultimate Gift
Gina Parcells, She Speaks! Graduate
"…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." 1 John 5:11b (NASB)
Christmas day at my house had become all about the presents. The décor, the shopping, the parties, the tree…it all culminated with those gifts when it should be culminating with the Gift. Something needed to change.
What can I do to see Jesus as a gift, and to help my family see Him as well? I wondered. A light bulb went on in my head, about the same time the light strand went out on my tree, and a plan was birthed.
Phase one: Baby Jesus was removed from the displayed nativity set. He was carefully boxed and wrapped in my fanciest paper, intentionally labeled with a specific name, and gingerly hidden under the myriad of gifts at the foot of our tree.
Phase two: During our family gift exchange on Christmas morning, the disguised gift was handed to my unsuspecting daughter, the named recipient, just one of her many gifts. It could have been an I-pod or a sweater or another book…after all, there was no host of angels announcing the valuable contents. But knowing what I knew, I watched with great anticipation as she opened it.
Phase three: A bewildered look came across her face. Haley didn't speak. I asked, "Haley, what did you get?"
"I got Jesus."
An entire family discussion ensued as we discussed the ultimate Gift in the midst of all of our other presents. We compared the gift of Jesus with other gifts that would wear out, that would be outgrown, and that would eventually lose appeal.
We began to ask and answer lots of questions such as:
What is a gift? What is the purpose of a gift? What can we know about the giver of the gift? Why might the giver choose to give a gift to you specifically?
Together, we came up with truths about God…that He gave us the Gift that we need, that we want, and that we could never afford to get for ourselves. He wrapped that Gift in a blanket and gave - voluntarily, sacrificially, and lovingly - to each one of us, the named recipients of His greatest Gift.
We've invited Jesus back into Christmas to take His place as the perfect Gift that never stops giving. I can hardly wait to experience today that same conversation this year as a new family member opens the box and announces, "I got Jesus!"
Dear Lord, too many times I have excluded You from my Christmas and been satisfied with presents and stuff. Let me not be content until I experience the gift of You in my heart. Cause me to see You as the ultimate Gift. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Immanuel: Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season by Ann Spangler
Homespun Memories from the Heart by Karen Ehman, Kelly Hovermale and Trish Smith
Find more Christmas family traditions with P31 radio show A Cup of Christmas COCOA
Try wrapping up your nativity baby Jesus for a family member or a friend, and discuss the Gift He is during your gift exchange.
Print and store this page with your nativity set as a reminder next year to value Jesus as a gift.
How can I help my family view Jesus as a Gift?
Isaiah 9:6, "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (NASB)
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (NASB)
Romans 6:23b, "… the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NASB)
© 2009 by Gina Parcells. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 15 December 2009.