While recording a Christmas message today for the church I am soon to become Pastor of, I got to thinking. What presents really make us pleased, happy, overjoyed?
I was using a model of Ferrari 348 which my eldest son thought was a great present when we lived in Italy. In fact we still have his treasured collection of such cars at home. To him such a gift was just the best. My wife the other day mentioned a birthday gift that she had be given. I remember the look on her face of pure joy. She needed a new toilet bag (for bathroom stuff like shampoo, deodorant etc.) and she got a lovely blue one. The funny thing was that the bag came as a free gift with cosmetics that had been purchased as the real present and were inside it. She was so enamored with the bag that it never occurred to her that there was more. Our little Grand daughter or course delights in a different sort of present and prefers the Teddy that my wife knitted for her.
Whats the point you might be thinking? Well the point is this, different gifts have a different impact on each of us, what excites one does nothing for another. We are quite capable of seeing and hearing about the most incredible of gifts but because its not what we expected or thought we wanted, we turn it down.
Just such a gift for many is the child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, the child who as a man presented us with a gift from God that so often is ignored because its misunderstood, thought to be impossible or just not required. Cast aside like so many unwanted Christmas gifts.
But maybe the way its presented by those charged with it is what is really the issue and not the gift at all. After all if you were offered a gift, battered, bent and covered in dirty, torn and well used paper, it might well put you off. When Christ is seen through those who profess faith in Him, what do they see, is it the kind of present which even though they had never thought they needed, suddenly realise they can't do with out? As James reminds us its what we do that gives the truth or the lie to what we claim to believe. Its that acting out of our faith that will give the gift the beautiful look that attracts others to Christ.
So this Christmas, be a light in the world, shine for Christ, live out the truth of your faith and attract others to the greatest present of all, God's gift of life.