This blog is a part of our series of advent devotionals, written by the faculty of Lancaster Bible College. We hope these devotionals will help you to focus on the true meaning of Christmas!
Parenting brings a new perspective on gift-giving; a typical part of the Christmas season. As children, opening presents was the highlight of Christmas. Attempts to focus our attention on other bits of our cultural and spiritual celebrations: worthless!
With perfected, adolescent eye-rolls, we thought “it is more blessed to give than to receive” was just something parents said to try and convince us to be less greedy.
As adults, we came to a better understanding: There are few greater joys in life than giving. It truly is “more blessed.” Even the newer or non-disciple has experienced that tingly rush of surprising someone with the perfect present: a desired trinket; an unexpected kind word; a helping hand. And the seasoned giver understands the correlation between the level of sacrifice involved and the resultant pleasure of the act.
Consider the most significant gift ever given: Jesus. Contemplate the cost for God to give us His Son; for Jesus to obey the will of the Father. “Priceless” seems too puny a word. Yet, the giving of this gift brought joy to the heart of the Giver. The anguishing heart, which resolutely provided the ultimate and unfathomable sacrifice, was blessed. Out of the overflow of God’s loving heart, a baby was birthed in the stench of a place called earth and joy came to the world. And as a grown man hung on a cross, the epitomical demonstration of that earth’s stench: Joy!
Our joy – our blessing – will be complete when we follow the lead of God’s giving, demonstrating the same sacrificial love.
REFLECTION: Among the gifts you have given, consider one or two that brought great joy to the receiver. How did you know it was joy? How have you expressed that same joy to the giver of your salvation?
PRAYER: Lord, the Giver of life, thank you for this life of joy, peace and eternity. You have sacrificed your life in order to offer a way for me to have an eternal one in your presence. My sin would have kept me separated from you, but your death has provided this priceless gift of God, my salvation. My heart is full of praise. Amen.