Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Greatest Gift Ever, Given by the Greatest Gift Giver

Flat screen TVs, iPods, iPhones, cellphones, MP3 players, Gps watch, Xbox, Wii, Nintendo DS, BlueRay DVD players, chocolate covered anything, clothing, jewelry, watches, shoes, anything Air Jordan, books, books, and more books, toy trains, dolls, board games, stocking full of candy, gum, laptops, basketballs, footballs, ping pong, my little pony, and easy bake ovens are all wonderful Christmas gifts and all have one thing in common....the joy they bring is only temporary and eventually will fade away leaving us hungry and thirsty for something else, something newer, something faster, shinier, thinner, sleeker and more chocolaty-er (is that even a word)?

There is nothing wrong in giving gifts or in receiving gifts. In fact there is great joy in doing both. There is nothing wrong in any of the toys, electronics, technology, or food just mentioned as they are all wonderful in the many ways they entertain us and bring joy to our lives, and what could possibly be better than chocolate covered anything?

James 1:17 tells us that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows". God the Father gives us not just good gifts like food, sex, material possessions, and chocolate covered goodness but He gives us perfect gifts and He never changes...ever and the gifts never change....ever. All of this means that the things we enjoy so much like food, sex, material possessions, and yes even chocolate covered anything are good gifts created by the Father given to us to enjoy and there in lies the problem for you and I.

The gifts from God are good and perfect and it is good to both give and to receive yet you and I have a tendency and the capacity as fallen, sinful people to elevate the gifts high above the creator and giver, Father God.

Instead of receiving food in gladness and eating out of enjoyment and to the glory of God, 1 Corinthians 10:31, we receive food as our comfort and we eat to medicate, to soothe, and we make food our priority, our savior, and we worship food, and we turn to food instead of turning to Jesus and we do the same with sex, and technology, and on and on and on.

John Piper says it this way in his book, A Hunger for God, "The danger of eating is that we fall in love with the gift..." The danger of sex, technology, chocolate is that instead of partaking with gladness to the Father we partake and fall in love with the gift and forget the Father and our appetites continue to grow for more and more and more and we are forever hungry and thirsty after the things of this world that do not feed us, quench our thirst, or bring satisfaction to our souls.

Yet 2000 years ago, in the town of Bethlehem, a baby was born. Jesus, God eternal, God come down to us, God reaching down to us, God seeking us, coming to save us, stepped down from His eternal heavenly kingdom, and confined His glory into the frail, weak body of a baby so that He could live among us, be tempted in every way as we are tempted and yet remained perfect and sinless. Jesus is given to us by our loving Father, John 3:16, as a perfect atonement for our sins, 1 John 2:2, died in our place because you and I are unable and incapable of earning God's favor, or earning God's love, and of earning our way into heaven.

Isiah 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

A child has been born but not just any child, the Christ child!!! A Son is given but not just any son, the Son of God, His only begotten, the greatest gift ever given by the greatest gift giver ever. Jesus is given to us, His blood shed for us to cover our sins, to pay the price that you and I could not pay, taking our punishment for our sins so that you and I would not have to and while some believe today there is coming a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The government and everything in creation and under heaven has been placed under His authority(Matthew 28:18). Jesus is our wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and He is our prince of peace.

Today and tomorrow you and I will open gifts that will bring us enjoyment but that enjoyment is only temporary and will never satisfy the unending hunger and thirst of our souls. Gifts are good and are intended to be enjoyed but never worshiped and never as a substitute for Jesus. Jesus said, John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."

Enjoy your iPod, flatscreen TV, and all the chocolate covered goodness you can handle but don't love the gifts more than the giver, don't worship that which will always leave you hungry for more and thirsty for more. Instead turn to Jesus as the ultimate gift, turn to Him to quench your thirst, to fill your hunger and never leave for only through Jesus will you ever be satisfied, will you ever be happy, will you ever find peace, and will you ever be forgiven of all your sins which is great and glorious news to us all.

Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family!

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