Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights (James 1:17 NIV).
Year after year, our family stood on a cold and busy street corner as part of our church’s live Christmas Nativity scene. No quiet town of Bethlehem surrounded us. Wrapped in homemade robes with crowns, itchy beards, shepherds, crooks, and angel wings, we stood as long lines of slow-moving cars filled the air with exhaust fumes. Playing roles in the church tableau provided an opportunity to reflect on the true “gift” of Christmas. Our message was the same as on that first Christmas. God’s perfect gift to the world, Jesus Christ, is born.
Scripture tells us that Mary and Joseph were poor and obscure, yet exceptional in their obedience to the God who entrusted His Son to their care. Angels announced His birth with a song. Shepherds left their flocks. Wise men traveled from the east and sought the place where the new King was born.
The Giver of the Gift
God provided the perfect gift before men were aware of their need: His Son, born as a fully human child. Jesus came to a world of lost and dying people. He lived without sin yet was willing to die for the sins of all mankind. As the fully divine Son of God, He died and rose to life again so that all who believe and choose to receive His gift might be freed from the power of sin and receive the gift of eternal life.
The salvation of Jesus Christ is still free to all who truly desire to know the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Rich, poor, educated, unemployed, suffering, or abundantly blessed, every one of us needs salvation. In the Book of Romans, Paul says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Later, he tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The perfect gift of God is “eternal life in Christ Jesus.”
Accepting the Gift
Gifts only benefit us when we accept them. Knowing the story of Christmas, acting it out, singing songs, even knowing scriptures can’t save us. We don’t gain the gift of eternal life in heaven because we were born in a certain place, gave generously to charity, supported a political cause, or thought good thoughts. We can’t earn our way into heaven by being a good people and doing the right things.
An eternity in heaven is reserved for those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Those who reject Him will not experience the abundant daily life of peace and the power of the Holy Spirit or His promise of eternity.
This Christmas, concentrate on the gift of God’s Son. He knows the perfect gift for you.
And the secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come. Colossians 1:27 J.B. Phillips New Testament.