I can admit that I am a difficult person to buy a Christmas gift for. Mostly, if I want something that is within reach, I save up for it and purchase it myself.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t need anything or want anything.
The Most Important Gift
I have given a lot of thought to this in the last few weeks and have come to a considerable conclusion. There’s one gift I need, and I need it 365 days a year. I need it every bit as much as the air I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat, the shelter over my head, and the love of my family. In fact, it is a gift that is much more important than any or all of these. And you need it too. Good news! It’s a gift that is available to all.
At the top of my Christmas wish-list is the basic need for Christmas grace! The grace of God, discovered in Jesus, is the one gift that keeps on giving.
Shepherds of Judea
The angel described this gift to a few frightened first-century shepherds on a midnight watch over their sheep on those Judean hills:
‘An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”’
– Luke 2:9-12, New International Version
Back in that day, watching sheep was not exactly a rock-star kind of gig. Yet, they were the first guests invited to the celebration. They saw the skies ripped open and heard the song of heaven. In just one night, these social misfits witnessed more of God’s glory than all the priests in Jerusalem.
The Shepherds are my favorite characters of the Christmas story. They were the ones considered farthest from God. I love reading how God gave hope to the lowest group in the social order of the day.
The Secret Message
There is a secret message inside the Christmas story. The very God who created you and me in His image to live a full and meaningful life has seen how we have failed to live up to that potential. Still, He has come and continues to come into our lives in that amazing Christmas grace. God empowers you and me to live the way He created us to live.
What gift do you want most this Christmas? When all the gifts you receive are used up and gone, there will still be one gift left, tucked in the corner behind the dried-out tree — the gift labeled “Christmas grace.” Will you open that most valuable gift of all, God’s gift to you?