Some of my most vivid Chrismas memories have something to do with gifts:
-The year I snuck into my parents’ bedroom and found the one present I wanted most! Though I was excited to know I was getting a Ken doll, there was a bit of a letdown, too, due to the lack of surprise (and, no doubt, the guilt of having peeked).
-The time my daughter opened one present several days before Christmas, found the Cabbage Patch doll she wanted, then tried to wrap it back up. When she realized she couldn’t get the package to look undisturbed, she hid it under her bed. (We discovered her secret before Christmas Day.)
-The outfit my husband bought me for one of our first Christmases. Not only did he choose well, but both jacket and skirt fit me! I wore that outfit for several years. (But he doesn’t take that kind of chance anymore.)
Gifts are probably one of the most prominent symbols of Christmas. Our society has made a business out of gift-giving (or at least, gift buying).
As we get older, exchanging presents remains a tradition but it no longer carries the importance it once did. We need and want less “stuff,” and we find more joy these days in giving gifts to our children and grandchildren.
Why did gift-exchanges become the point and focus of the holiday? The tradition can be traced to Saint Nicholas’ Day in Europe between the 4th and 12th centuries (Read more detail here.)
No doubt, the idea took hold as a response to the gift the angels announced: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, ESV).
For those who have responded to Jesus’ offer of salvation, our response is gratitude. We give gifts to others to show our love for them, as God gave His Son to show His love for us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV).
A gift means nothing unless the recipient accepts and opens it. Have you accepted “his inexpressible gift“? (See 2 Cor. 9:15.)