Of Gifts and Giving
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:16-18
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. The greatest gift of all is the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His Son. He gave His one and only Son for us. He sent Him into the world to be a sacrifice for sins. Jesus Christ was sent to die so that we who trust in the finished work of Christ, might live. That is the greatest gift of all. The gift of salvation.
As we celebrate the gift of God’s Son and the gift of eternal life, we often are blessed to be able to share with others some of the abundance of how God has blessed us. We give gifts to others as a sign of love and affection because we have been given much. I’m not sure we can find a perfect Bible verse that explains why we give gifts to one another at Christmas time. Using the wise men and their gifts as a motive for giving gifts seems like a stretch. But loving others and serving others and showing that love in giving something tangible is a wonderful thing that we can do.
In our giving and gifting let us also beware of some pitfalls and try not to fall prey to temptation. We can be tempted toward materialism at this time of year. We have to be careful not to spend beyond our means. We have to try and avoid coveting what others have. Or even looking to the amount we give as a sign of love, i.e. those who have more money to spend and can give more must love more. We have heard the phrase, “It’s not the gift but the thought that counts.”
There can be truth to that in the sense that we don’t want to make Christmas all about things rather than about Christ. But we tend to give because we love others and we have been given so much by the grace of God. Ultimately the stuff of earth will fade away, so let us make sure that we are laying up our treasures in heaven and not on earth.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys an where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21