Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Christmas series #4: Gift Exchange

Christmas is one of the most blessed of holidays and exchanging gifts is one of the most exciting activities of Christmas, especially for children.  What a joyful, gratifying experience it is to shower gifts of love on our children!  Those of us who are empty-nesters, look back with nostalgia on those happy years when we were together as a family, experiencing these happy occasions, now only memories.


Agape Love


In this article, lets consider this matter of giving.  Did you know that we don’t know the first thing about unselfish giving and loving until we know God intimately through faith in His Son, Jesus?   “We love God, because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19


God’s love (agape love) is the true, selfless love that comes from God alone.  This is unconditional love that is showered on us with no strings attached. Any giving with the expectation of getting something in return is not really giving at all.  It is a selfish manipulation of others to get what we want. When we know God personally, it is possible for us to love and give as God does.  Such love is expressed by the giving of our time, energy and resources to people needing it, regardless of whether they appreciate it or whether they can reciprocate.  We offer such love to others because God’s love is flowing through us.


Imagine what this world would be like without God.


Without God there would be no loving and no giving in the world.  We are all born TAKERS; not GIVERS.  Children do not need to be taught to take.  They grab from birth and scream if they don’t get what they want NOW!   As they grow, they need to be taught to give.  They learn that kind of giving by observing the love and sacrificial giving of their parents.  But more than our love, they learn it as they come to know and experience Christ’s loving sacrifice for their sins. Being born again will change hearts like nothing else can.


Can you imagine what this world would be like totally devoid of love and sacrificial giving?  There would be no loving families, no churches, no hospitals, no medical care and no nursing homes.  There would be no Red Cross or Salvation Army, nor any other charitable giving. There would be no orphanages, no shelters or rescue missions, no missionaries. We would live in a totally selfish world.


What is a Gift?


A gift is a tangible or intangible expression of our love that meets the physical, emotional or spiritual needs of others.


A gift is unearned.


It is given from a heart that has been touched by God’s love and grace and responds in love and appreciation to Him.


It is given unconditionally, whether the receiver reciprocates or not.


It is given freely with no strings attached.  It’s not ” I’ll give you a gift if you give me one.”  That’s really not a gift. That’s merely swapping stuff.


When giving gifts we do not compare the value of what I gave you with the value of what you gave me.  The difference in value does not miff us and it is not even a consideration. 


Consider God’s Gift to us.


God gave His Son for us.  John 3:16


Christ gave Himself for us is taught in such passages as  Galatians 2:20,  Ephesians 5:25,  I Timothy 2:5-6


As a mother who gives her baby to adoption parents freely gives all the baby things with her baby,  so God freely gives us with His Son, all we need to live the Christian life in this world. II Peter 1:3-4, Romans 8:32, James 1:17

Have you received God’s Gift of salvation?  Are you  still rejecting Him?  Think how you would feel if you went to great expense and to great pains to give a gift to someone you love, and that person rebuffed you and rejected the gift.  That’s how God feels about your rejection of His Gift of Jesus.


Consider your gift to God.


Understand,  that  we can give Him nothing to earn our salvation.  By His grace alone, He gave us Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.


However, if you  have received God’s gift of salvation,  you can show your gratitude and appreciation by giving yourself totally to Him.


He wants nothing less from you than your life.   In Romans 12:1-2 Paul does not command, but he beseeches us to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.  In II Corinthians 5:14-21  we are constrained by His love to live the rest of our days serving Him. 


Your body, your life, your time, your talents, your strength, your heart all belong to Him.  How can you give Him less than your best?


May 27, 2006 - Posted by | Christmas Series

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