Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I've Got Peace Like A River"1 (Lyrics)
All the costumes and props for the Sunday School Christmas play had been tidied up and put away. All except one, I thought. A wrapped gift lay in my drawer. I was in charge of the Sunday School, so I kept stuff in the old desk. I wonder what that's doing there? Looks like one of the wise men's gifts. I ignored it. It lay there for the rest of January. Maybe it's there by mistake. Gradually, months later, I realized that it was in my drawer, so maybe I was supposed to open it. I finally opened and enjoyed my box of chocolates!
We have to receive something in order to have it. My son, who installs blinds, often gets paid by e-transfer. The client sends the amount specified, but in order for Nick to actually receive it, he has to answer a security question. I had to take the wrapped present out of the drawer and acknowledge that it was mine, in order to receive it.
After the birth of Christ, a special, bright star appeared in the east. Many would have seen it, but only the wise men, who were compelled to travel hundreds of miles west, acknowledged the idea that it was associated with the Messiah. "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy" (Matthew 2:10 NKJV) and following the star, they finally came to the place where the young child, the Messiah, was, and worshipped Him. They received the knowledge that they were given, and acted on it. I like to think that they received the gift of the Messiah and the salvation that He would bring.
Acts 10:43 – To [Jesus] all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. (NKJV)
Isaiah 53:5b – He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (NLT)
John 1:16 – From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. (NLT)
God has many gifts for us — grace, healing, wholeness, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, to name a few. We can easily forget about them, as I did the gift in the drawer. They are potentially available to us, but we must receive them. Take healing, for example. I knew with my mind that God was the Healer. One day at a women's retreat, I was walking gingerly up the stairs with a sore back. A woman behind me placed her hand on the small of my back and said, "Receive your healing." I wasn't healed on the spot, but I had a new understanding of having to receive something in order to have it.
Acknowledging and receiving God's blessings is the key. Let's not just think about them theoretically, but let's receive them with joy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the many gifts that You choose with which to bless us. Help us to be ready and willing to receive them, and not let them lie unused. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.