Christmas is not a time for giving. And, no, it is not for buying either. Christmas is a time for receiving!
Many children and even adults consider Christmas to be only for buying and getting presents. But it really is not!
Consider when you receive a present: What is your first reaction? To give something in return. But is that not the same as “buying” that gift?
There is a certain pride in us that causes us to give and give, but to receive a gift is another matter. I will dedicate my life to service. But do not humiliate me and tell me that all I have to do is receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world” — that is, you and me — “that He gave His unique Son” — that’s Jesus — “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that everyone who believes in Him should be saved.” (John 3:16, 17)
This gift is offered to, and can be received by all, but sadly the majority reject this gift of heaven.
Over 2,000 years ago, shepherds in Bethlehem listened to the angelic chorus singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will to mankind.”
Christmas should teach us that God has given all of heaven to us in the gift. All that it requires of us is to receive that gracious gift. Then we can the have the assurance that we are right with God. That is what Christmas is all about.
We have to realize that we cannot earn anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive salvation as a gift or do without. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are sinners, in need of a Saviour.
In the words of Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
All these attributes are Jesus Christ — he is the Everlasting Father, YHWH, He is the Wonderful Coun-sellor, He is heaven’s gift to a planet in rebellion in desperate need of peace. He is the only way that we can have peace with God.
There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your relationship to God. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life.
When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did and what He wants me to do.
Have you received, accepted, and welcomed the gift that God wants you and me to have? The choice is always yours. Receive Christ Jesus now and have everything today, and for eternity.
That is what receiving the gift and Christmas is all about!
Ian Cotton is the retired pastor of the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.