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December 6, 2016

Unwrapping the Gift that Keeps Giving


As we rush around during this holiday season trying to shop for that perfect gift, get the menu prepared for the big dinner, decorate with the most enchanting colors and lights, making a list and checking it twice; we always ask ourselves if we forgot something. Sometimes we get swept up in the wave of the holiday and the celebration that signals winter is here where sweaters, scarves and hot cocoa are the norm, and forget the real celebration that brings the joy, peace and hope of the season.

The real reason we should celebrate is because of the gift of Jesus. We have the hope, the joy, the peace and all the other things that surround this holiday because of the day He was born. What a gift. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, humbling clothes, on that day, and it’s so incredible He is the gift we can unwrap every day, every month, every year.

When we keep the Christ in Christmas it gives the day true meaning. It’s less about buying the perfect gift to have in our hand, but more about receiving the perfect gift to have in our heart. That’s why so many more are celebrating Advent, which is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation, for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming" or “visit”. This is something to ensure we keep the season focused on Jesus and what His coming meant to the world then and what it means now.


His coming meant that Jesus was God in the flesh. That’s incredible when you think of it that way! His coming meant the world would now have a Savior, and that He would later show His complete love for us on the cross. What a gift! A gift we could never repay or out-do. A gift that keeps giving.

So, let’s make sure we keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Because of Him, we have so much to be thankful for and to look forward to. We have the gift of peace that we can’t explain, but is freely ours; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV).

We have the gift of joy that only He can give, it doesn’t come from the world or outside circumstances; joy comes from God. Something we can’t express or explain; another gift. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” I Peter 1:8 (NIV).

Then we have the awesome blessing and gift of hope. Hope is always fulfilled by God. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV). This verse seems to be one many turn to in tough times. We want to cling to the words God says; cling to His gracious promises. This verse declares that the Lord wants to give us peace and prosper us, give us a future and a hope. This is good news no matter what it seems at the moment, God has not forgotten His people. He has not forgotten you.


This promise of a hope and a future rests in God restoring us back to Him. This restoration is that cleansing process that relies on us to seek God with our whole heart. We may not understand why things are happening and it can be really tough. The future may look unsettling and we become overwhelmed, but His promises are true. Blessed is the one whose hope is in the Lord. Let’s reflect on how He came through in the Bible days and how He has come through for you today. He can do the same tomorrow. The gift that keeps giving.
He also gifts us with new mercies every morning. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV). I’m very thankful for the gift of mercy. With this promise in mind and impressed upon our heart, we know that we never have to stay stuck or go around the same mountain day after day, year after year; we are more than able to enter into His rest and receive His promises.
What that means for us is…
Great is His comfort
His joy
His provision
His mercies
His compassion
Every. Day.
There may be times when we have doubt, or times when we have not been kind to ourselves or others, or times when we wonder about our purpose and the next step. We may experience hardship and see the world experience troubling times, but He is our portion forever and that means He is able beyond the troubling times and beyond our hardships…forever and ever. The gift that keeps giving.
There may be days when we wish we could just crawl under the covers and never peak out, a day when we wish we could just do it all over again another way.
It’s ok. We can.
Because tomorrow is a new day and His mercy awaits us there.
Always new, always fresh, always constant. I’m grateful for the gift of every new morning.


Let’s not forget the greatest gift. His birth and the very reason He was born, to later give it all up for us so that we could have life forever with Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” John 3:16-17 (KJV).

So, as we reflect from our vantage point, what’s at the top of the list? A new outfit, the latest tech gadget, something sparkly, or impressing family with the vast array of dessert choices? Or is it embracing the true gift of Christmas wrapped in swaddling clothes? Embracing the gifts of peace, joy, hope, new mercies and life forever with Him.

Sometimes it’s tough to shutter the noise of the world and connect with the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with laughing and wrapping tangible gifts, watching the exciting animation of Charlie Brown and Dr. Seuss, sipping eggnog around the fire, or singing carols. Some are traditions in my family and other families alike. But as I’ve grown in my walk, I also feed the hungry, adopt a child for the holidays, put money in the Red Kettle, pray with those in need and spread the love of Christ everywhere I go.

This year, what will be your tradition? What will be the conversation around the dinner table? How will you prepare for the celebration of that amazing visit? How will you unwrap the gift that keeps giving? 




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2 comments

  1. The best gift doesn't come in a box or tied up in a bow at all. Yet we will spend the rest of our days unwrapping all that he has providing for us. Thanks for sharing these heartfelt words of truth with us Gwen. In all the hustle and bustle we need to be reminded of what matters most.

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  2. Wonderful reminder of keeping all centered on the best gift of all! Great point " Hope is always fulfilled by God. " that reminds me to not only remain focused on Christ but ALL that He has done for us and that my hope truly rests in Him!

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