Romans 6:20-23 – When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
Just after my husband retired a few years ago, we set off for the United Kingdom to visit the family of some friends of ours. While there, we attended a small church. It was November, a cold rainy day, and the church was colder inside than out. Even the choir members wore their coats to try to keep the chill out.
I shall never forget the theme of the sermon. It had a personal touch and was on a topic that many of us have a hard time dealing with: receiving a gift.
How many times have we been offered a gift and said, "Oh you shouldn't have done that," or, "You didn't have to do that." The message focused on the importance of a gift — it wouldn't be offered if the giver didn't want us to have it.
I thought about this, for I had been guilty of being reluctant to receive gifts. The day I heard this message, it made more sense to me that the giver would not have offered the gift if they had not wanted me to receive it.
Likewise, God offers the gift of His only Son Jesus, and we may say, "You didn't have to give me a gift!" What then? God gave the gift because He knows we need it. Why? We need to be saved from the sinful nature we were born with. God knows that we need the gift of salvation, so He sent His Son into the world at Christmas that we might receive eternal life. This is a gift that we must not refuse. This is a gift to receive!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us never to refuse the gift that You gave to us at Christmas time, the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to be grateful that You gave us this gift so our sins will be forgiven and we will receive eternal life. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.