One of the major focuses of our modern-day Christmas is gifts and gift-giving. There are a lot of reasons we give gifts at Christmas time. For many, it is an obligation, something that’s expected. For others, it is an expression of love for those we care about. Oftentimes, it is a reciprocation for something that’s been given to us or we are trying to prompt someone to give us something in return.
Today, I want to look at a different perspective on gift giving, God’s perspective. Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God the Gift Giver
If we focus on the second part of this verse, we see God revealed as a gift giver. He gave his one and only son. He chose to give us what was most precious to him, his son. It was the greatest gift that we could ever receive because through this gift, our sins could be forgiven and we have the opportunity to have eternal life.
We have already looked at some of the reasons that we give gifts. But why did God do it? It’s not because of what we’ve done. Or because of what someone else has done. Or because we’ve done good work. Or because we loved him.
It says that because of God’s love for the world that he gave. God is the one who loved us first and out of that love he gave his son. This is the purest motive there can be. God loved so he gave. God is a generous God. Amazingly generous.
Romans 5:8 tells us that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God did not send his son as a response to anything we had done right. In fact, we had only ever done everything wrong. It was simply because of God’s great love for the world. He was motivated by a one-sided love. We had done nothing to deserve it and he expected nothing in return.
The results of the gift that he gave, so selflessly and freely, have changed history for eternity. Because of this gift, we have an opportunity to put our trust in him to put our faith in him. Because of the gift of his son, we can have life everlasting. Only the most amazing gift can have such an amazing result.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God has done his part. How are we going to respond?
The first part is simply remembering this greatest gift that we have been given. The second part is the real challenge: what will our response be? Will we respond out of duty or obligation? Or will we respond with a sense of praise and thanksgiving?
When we allow our hearts to respond with gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving, it will move beyond just us. We were created in God’s image, so those feelings of love that his gift conceives in us will overflow in much the same way that his love for us provoked his gift of his son. Our response should not just be gratitude towards God, but an outpouring of love and generosity towards others.
One way that manifests itself is through giving to others. That could be the way that we love and care for one another. That could be how we praise God and focus on him, pointing others to this free gift that we have received that he offers to the whole world. These are the gifts that we can give the world around us in the same posture that he gave us his son.
Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth here on earth. Jesus was the ultimate gift that God gave purely out of his undeserved love for us. God has given us this gift because he is a generous God and we have the opportunity to respond with generosity and live generous lives.
Each year, the holidays come and go and it can be easy to just go through the motions. How many times have you viewed the Christmas traditions as just a list of things to do and gifts we have to buy?
I would encourage you to pause this Christmas season. Take a moment to ponder the gift we have been given by God himself, the creator of the universe. It is the true gift that keeps on giving because in him we can find peace and rest, trust in him, believe in him, and be grateful for the gift of his son and the eternal life that is found only through him.
About Guide Financial Planning
Guide Financial Planning is led by founder Ben Wacek, who is a Christian fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Kingdom Advisor®. He has a passion for helping people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective using Biblical principles. Based in Minneapolis, MN, he works with clients both locally and virtually throughout the country and abroad. You can follow the links to learn more about Guide Financial Planning and our team and the services we offer.