This is one of my out-of-the-archives Christmas favorites … read and consider.
He had not been with his children for a very long time … to him it had seemed but a moment … but to the children … centuries. True, he had not spoken to them for some time, at least not that they had heard. But he was right there with each and every one of them as they took each and every step.
As so often happens, when children grow older and more independent, they cease to realize they still need their father’s love, his advice and his discipline – regardless of their age or perceived self-sufficiency. The rebellion was not totally unexpected but nonetheless it was disappointing.
But the time had come for all that to change. It seemed like he had been looking forward to this day forever. He was giving a gift to each and every one of his children – young and old alike. He loved each and every one of them and had known for some time exactly what each one of them needed. But he couldn’t help but consider the many different ways they would choose to respond to his gift.
He knew that some would look at the gift tag and then either defiantly or nonchalantly just refuse to open it. It would probably end up in tomorrow’s trash or would simply be left behind. Seeing his name managed to prompt their anger, their rejection or both.
Some would unwrap the gift and see the brand name on the box and refuse to go a step further because it came from what to them was an unacceptable company. Didn’t they realize that the value of a gift was not based on who was selling it but on who was giving it and why he was giving it?
A couple of his kids, much like a few of his elderly relatives and friends, would unwrap their present yet leave it in its original packaging and think ‘That’s nice’ and then just put it in the bottom of their sock drawer or on the top shelf of a bookcase. They would never fully realize or grasp the true nature of his gift – they’d probably forget it even existed.
He knew a few of his children would tear into the box, pull out the gift, try it out and decide that it really didn’t fit them. They would choose to exchange his present for something they thought fit them a bit better. At least, that is what their so-called ‘friends’ would tell them or simply what they would choose to believe. A true friend would one day reveal otherwise.
One or two of his offspring would open the present and initially be really excited about it. Yet at the end of the day they would tire of the gift, rarely if ever to engage it again. Their attention span was wholly driven by their self-gratification … something momentary that must constantly be fed. They were in desperate need of something that would endure.
He could think of some children by name that would see their gift as another nugget to be added to their treasure chest. They truly believed their value and importance was based on how much they accumulated and owned. But would their treasures stand the test of time?
Some thought the whole point was in opening the present. They would no sooner get the wrapping off, before asking for another one to open. Or perhaps they would impatiently ask ‘Is that all?’ How he longed for them to understand the incredible mystery …
Yes, he knew he would be disappointed in all of those responses. He was hopeful that one day their responses would change. But if not, it was indeed their choice to make.
Some of them would see this not only as a time to receive gifts, but also as a time to exchange gifts with dear old dad. While he smiled and chuckled as he thought of the true gift exchanges to come, he grimaced as he imagined their vain attempts at the gift exchange. Their gifts would not be gifts of the heart but gifts of the mind or simply gifts of obligation … if they chose to give at all.
Some might give him what they wanted him to have. Others might give him what the experts or maybe even their peers advised that he needed or wanted. And no doubt some gifts would be nothing more than the result of effective advertising or popularity. They really had nothing at all to do with him. They just didn’t comprehend the concept of good and perfect gifts …
A few might claim that they had given their life to him as a gift. Did they not realize that a father gives children life and not the other way around? To make such a claim actually revealed to him their considerable lack of understanding … one day he would have to explain that to them. For now, they were unable to see, to listen or to understand.
With a bountiful sense of love and joy he could foresee the few children, actually the limited few that would truly know him and be intimately known by him.
They would open his present and absolutely treasure it forever. They would realize how much he loved them when they opened and received his gift. By his love and through his gift their love for him would be rekindled. For him, their reciprocal love was neither demanded nor expected but it was certainly longed for and desired.
Out of his great love they would come to love him. Out of that love they would come to believe and trust in him once again. That love would transform their lives and their destiny. They would finally be reconciled. He had envisioned the reality of this family reconciliation happening for some time – now it would also become a reality for them.
The gift exchange with them would be approached with great joy and anticipation. They actually realized they had no life to give to him … they were dying and without hope. There was no known cure for what was ailing and killing them. They had struggled with that fact now for 4,000 years or so. But he was about to solve that problem in a big way.
According to his plan, he would encourage, prompt and draw them to come and give him their old and dying self because the gift, His only begotten Son, would have already journeyed through death on their behalf, conquering it and arising to live forever. The wonder of the great gift exchange – his children bringing the gift of what was old and dying and through his gift he would give them what is new and living. They would exchange death for life both in the present and eternally. They came to him lacking hope and they left immediately filled with hope overflowing.
Father God smiled as He considered the implications of the gift. Then with incredible love, He sent the promised seed, His beloved Son Jesus, down to planet earth to be born as a baby boy, to live a life of love and obedience to His Father, to die on a cross as the Lamb of God, to be buried, to be resurrected, to ascend to take His place of honor at His Father’s right hand, and to one day return as the conquering King to bring His people into the ultimate Promised Land. Through His divine Gift, His children would be rescued from the clutches of futility and death and instead receive love, hope and life from Abba Father.
Yes, He was indeed giving the good Gift … for those who responded in love to Jesus.
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1 John 5:11-12 (NASB)
Are you aware of the Father’s gift IN Jesus?
What have you done with His precious Gift?
Are you reconciled to your Abba Father?