During this season of giving, the perfect gift often eludes us. We plot online. We haunt the stores of our city streets. We make lists. We check them twice.
But what is the ideal gift a person can give? What gift would outshine all other gifts? The answer is you. Yourself. That’s right. You are the ultimate gift.
Think of the heroic tales that capture our hearts and imaginations. Extraordinary people daily give of themselves to help others. Men and women who selflessly sacrifice themselves in trauma situations, resulting even in death. We know ultimate giving when we see it, don’t we?
The ultimate gift is the gift of yourself. We witness this in our local community as people give of themselves to care for others, in big and small ways, many times unnoticed. We feel it as we are included in friendships and when we enter into people’s stories. As we welcome people into our homes, we offer ourselves to them, in a deep and profound way. Giving yourself is the ultimate gift, and Christmas affords us many opportunities. In the midst of all the gift giving this Christmas, remember to give yourself. To your friends, to your kids, to your neighbourhood, to those who need a friend or a family.
But this giving is rooted in something deeper, something more elemental. During Christmas, we celebrate God’s ultimate gift to us, Jesus Christ. The centre of all Christmas festivity is God’s divine activity, the Creator God becoming one with his very own creation by becoming human. God’s giving makes sense of our giving.
The Christmas gift of Jesus is “ultimate” on multiple levels. Not only is it ultimate because God gives himself to us in Jesus, it is ultimate because of Jesus’ unique identity. Jesus is the one and only Son of God, the master of all creation and history, the one through whom and by whom all things exist. And if that isn’t crazy enough, Jesus — this perfect, amazing, compassionate God-man — willingly gave himself up to the powers of death and evil, so that he could destroy them and bring healing to his broken creation. Jesus came to Earth in order to give himself up for us, for the sake of all creation.
Can you imagine a more ultimate gift? All our giving points to this unsurpassing gift of Jesus, reminding us of his crazy love and calling us to follow his example. It’s Jesus who said that the greatest love we can show for others is by laying down our lives for them. At Christmas, we celebrate this greatest love by celebrating Jesus, the one who became one of us so we could become one of his. And we follow him in the giving of ourselves to others.
May your festivities this Christmas be in celebration of ultimate giving, both of yourself to others, and of God to us. Merry Christmas!
Tom Greentree pastors the Erickson Covenant Church and lives with his family on a Canyon farm. He welcomes any questions or comments and can be reached at www.ericksoncovenant.ca.