Christmas is a time of gift giving. The hustle and bustle of the holiday proves this to be true as shoppers look for a gift to give ... but for your closest loved ones, it must be perfect. The right size. The right color and style. A gift which shows the giver was truly thinking of his or her loved one when it was picked out. A gift which will be appreciated and cause eyes to light up with joy. Perhaps even a gift which is so very wonderful that the one receiving the gift has a hard time describing its beauty and worthiness to others.
God has given a gift which, to mere mortal men, is of such value and beauty and worthiness that it is hard to even imagine. The Apostle Paul spoke of it in 2 Corinthians 9:15 when he said, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." Why did Paul use the word "unspeakable" to describe God's gift? I believe it is because God, in his infinite love and wisdom for mankind, wanted to give the greatest gift he ever could. It is a gift that mankind cannot even fully comprehend. In fact it is somewhat "unspeakable," at least by mortal tongue.
What words could truly be used to describe God's great love in his choice of giving? To think that the one and only, Almighty God could love us even when we had sinned is ... well ... unspeakable in man's description. God himself states it in John 3:16, "For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son..." Of course the gift which God gave in Christ is a gift which shows the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made. God, in the form of his son Jesus Christ, gave his life on the cross of Calvary to pay for the sins of mankind! All the receiver must do is realize that there is no way to save himself from sin, desire to repent or change his life from sin, and trust Christ as Saviour. Christ is the gift which allows the receiver eternal life in Heaven. God's gift of love is that which is able to meet everyone's needs, never wears out, never breaks, and is appropriate for every man, woman, boy and girl on the entire planet. Wow! That is some gift!
But the gift of God is not just the fact of salvation. Christ said in John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." You see Christ not only gives life, but abundant life. He not only gives salvation FROM him, but a relationship WITH him. Think of the benefits that Christ's abundant life gives: Improved relationships, stronger marriages, guidance in raising children, emotional strength to deal with difficult circumstances. This is all great, but greater yet is a personal relationship with him. A relationship ... with GOD! He speaks to us through his Holy Word and we are able to speak to him in prayer at any time of any day.
I mean, think about it even amongst our earthly families. Your greatest gifts are not the boxes wrapped in brightly colored paper. Nor is it even the roof over their heads or the food and clothing you provide for them. While you give of these things, and rightly so, the greatest gift which your family can receive of you is a genuine relationship WITH you by offering your time and love and devotion to them. God offers this through a relationship with him and he desires to speak to and to hear from his children!
The real question this year is, "What are YOU doing with God's unspeakable gift?" As worthy as the gift of Christ is, a gift is not benefited until it is received. Have you been saved? Not through a church, or catechism, or baptism, or other good works; but have you received God's gift provided through Jesus Christ? Have you trusted him alone as your personal Saviour to save you from your sins? Won't you receive God's gift of Christ today? And if you have already trusted him, will you love him in return and give yourself to him in service?
Let us remember the real reason of Christmas is the "unspeakable gift" of wonder and love which is found in Christ!
Jeff Baumer is pastor of Twin Rivers Baptist Church of Marietta.