John 4:10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
There are some for whom this holiday allows them to display certain talents that cause them to stand above the rest. Gift selection – What do you get for that hard-to-buy person on your list? Party preparation – who to invite, when, how to decorate, down to the last detail. I have found gift wrapping somewhat humorous around the holidays.
There are many types. There are the elite – the ones whose gifts have a color scheme, matching ribbons and special tags. There are the homemade types who pride themselves in having created all that you see from scratch. There are the more functional types (I fit into this category) who think paper just a thin veil from what really matters.
Once the time comes to open the gift, you have another set of folks who distinguish themselves in this category. The ‘cut to the chase’ type who tears in without so much as a grunt of acknowledgment for the care given to make the corners look symmetrical, the minute details of matching the pattern of the paper to hide the overlap or the beauty of the curl put into the ribbon.
Then there are those who savor the moment, comment on the care taken to wrap the gift and compliment whoever it was that did this for them. Then, there are the ‘saver’s’ – those who find the seam and release the tape’s hold ever-so-carefully thinking to save the paper, ribbon and all for a later usage.
However your Christmas gift wrapping and opening will go this year, consider how God wrapped the most beautiful of all gifts to us. For Who He was and from whence He came, the arrival of the babe in Bethlehem should have been heralded with such royal fanfare, pomp and circumstance that kings around the world would be envious. But no, He came to a city so full there was no room – no habitable place for Joseph and Mary to stay.
Such humble beginnings did not seem fitting for such a gift. Wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was the way the shepherds found Him – just as the angels declared. Faith gave way to sight for them that night. Until His birth, Mary, Joseph, Zacharias and Elizabeth were the only ones who truly knew the significance of this baby’s coming. Clothed in simple, humble beginnings, the Son of God came to earth as the Father’s gift to us.
When the woman of Samaria met Jesus at the well that day – it was a divine appointment.
John 4:4 “And he must needs go through Samaria.”
When Jesus mentioned ‘living water‘, it seems she thought that the arduous task of fetching water at a well was going to be replaced with never having to do this again. But she found out that the true ‘gift’ Jesus was bringing to her, stood with dirtied feet, a robe and as plain as any man of that day. It was prophesied:
Isaiah 53:2 “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
There was no flowing mane of hair; beautiful hypnotic eyes, stature or speech that would be considered charismatic or charming. Why God chose such a way to come would not be too difficult to see, really. Jesus came to be the suffering servant – the sacrificial Lamb; not the King of Kings. Israel wanted a Deliverer from the bondage of Roman rule and what they received was the Savior of the world.
When the gift was finally unwrapped, it was not at all what they had expected. In the end, as He hung on that cross; beaten, bloodied, naked, rejected and alone, He looked nothing like the gift they had wanted Him to be.
This Christmas, we, who are saved, may be the only ‘gift’ of truth to those we will meet. How we wrap this truth; how we adorn the gospel is as important as the Gift inside. We are admonished:
Titus 2:10 “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
So, those family members we see this Christmas, need to see what a difference Christ has made in our lives. Don’t let the stress of this holiday season steal our time to pray before we go. May we wrap all that we do for others in prayerful preparation. Arriving with hearts that are at peace and full of love, we can weather any attack our enemy may devise to disrupt this wonderful birthday celebration!
Let us wrap ourselves in prayer; clothe ourselves in humility and show ourselves loving, kind, forgiving and ever-ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us!
Have a wonderful, merry and blessed Christmas!