It’s gift giving season again. Are you ready? Do you have your list made out for all your family, friends, and neighbors? What about for those people you might need an “oops, I forgot you” gift?
Have you ever been on the receiving end of one of those gifts? A gift given out of obligation.
Last year I was prompted to make cookies for my entire cul-de-sac. You can read more about it here. It was an assignment designed to get to know the people I’ve lived next to for years but never bothered to introduce myself. It was an exercise in building community. And it worked. But I didn’t bake the cookies to receive anything in return. I just wanted to bless people.
The response from that was mixed. Some people didn’t even answer the door. Some stopped to talk for awhile. Others gave us a few of their own cookies. But the woman who felt like she needed to respond by bringing over wrapped gifts for my entire family is what made me stop and think. Why was she compelled to do that?
She was giving out of obligation. If I had never given her my gift, she never would have given me hers. It made me feel like the gift I gave her became a burden for her to return the favor. She didn’t allow me to just love her without expecting anything in return.
How many times have you read that verse? Maybe this is the first time. If that’s the case, read on because I’ve read it and recited it dozens of times, but sometimes when you’ve grown accustom to something you begin to take it for granted.
I did that with this verse. It’s been presented to me over and over again throughout my life that it became dull. Lifeless. Meaningless.
Maybe you’ve felt this way at times too.
What a travesty! It’s the most life-giving, meaningful verse. Why do you suppose it’s made it’s way onto so many billboards, fast food cups and bumper stickers?
Because it expresses exactly who God is.
He’s a life giver. A soul seeker. He’s a loving father.
God gave because he so loved whoever. That’s you! And that’s me.
It doesn’t matter what this year has done to you. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself. You were never the forgotten one. You were never the one God pulled an “oops” present out for. The prize has always been there for you to take, without obligation. Because you are loved. So loved.
There’s nothing you have to do to earn this gift. There’s nothing God expects from you other than to trust that this gift is wrapped in the perfect package. A sweet, innocent baby. An approachable child born just for you and I to be able to relate to and get to know intimately so that we will not perish. So that you and I could live an abundant and eternal life.
If you accept no other gift this Christmas other than the one sent from Heaven to a manger in Bethlehem thousands of years ago, you will have received nothing better. It’s beautiful and simple, yet filled with wonder and hope.
Allow yourself to be a whoever. Allow yourself to be loved.
For more Biblical insight, Bible verses and encouragement, check out my posts and many others over at BibleVerses.com.
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