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One Expensive Christmas Gift

(ROCKWALL, TX — November 29, 2017) It’s my favorite holiday, though I don’t observe it well. Maybe I could be excused for still trying to get Christmas right since it only comes once a year, or, maybe not, since I’ve had plenty of years to practice.

One of my challenges is gift-giving because I’ve never enjoyed shopping. I’d rather be writing Christmas cards or making the annual cherry-cream pie. But my real problem is gift-receiving, which likely goes back to my childhood, when Santa typically delivered tangerines, walnuts, and a new pair of shoes. This ho-ho-hum history should make me appreciate more extravagant gifts. Instead, the nicer the gift, the harder it is for me to receive.

A recent Christmas casualty was the gift of a red coat from my husband, Jim, who selected the most extravagant item on my wish list. But I decided to return it for several reasons: not the fabric I expected; not a perfect fit; too expensive.

Jim is actually a great gift-giver. Left to himself—without my wish-list—he can select a gift I really need before I realize my need. This quality has everything to do with Christmas.

The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). And God gave his most extravagant gift to the world by sending a Savior—before we knew we needed saving. Yet many intended receivers have missed out by right of refusal.

With my analytical outlook, I might have been numbered among those circa-30 AD folks who found a reason to reject the Son of God. Some sincere people of faith had doubts about the man who grew up in the obscure town of Nazareth. “’Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked” (John 1:46).

The Pharisees and other religious leaders might have had “enforcer of the law” on their wish list. Instead, they got Jesus, who disturbed their self-righteousness by reminding them of the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 – 38). This was not the Messiah they expected.

The zealots—political extremists of their day—hoped for a new earthly king more than a heavenly one. They might have wanted Jesus to embrace their platform and then suffered disappointment over the humble man who entered Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. He was the wrong fit.

The rich and powerful scrutinized Jesus and grew uncomfortable with some of his words, like, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Many decided that following Jesus would be too costly.

For more than two thousand years, eligible recipients have rejected God’s unmerited gift of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

[Scriptures taken from the New International Version]

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter. Patti lives in Heath with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits Christian faith articles for several publications. Read more of her essays at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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