It is December 21, and if you are following along, you noticed there was no reflection posted for yesterday. I spent over an hour late last night staring at my computer before I decided to close it and go to bed. I wanted to get something up, and even wrote a few things down, but ultimately felt like whatever I might end up writing would be forced, and inauthentic, which is the opposite of why I am attempting to do this to begin with… So, tonight’s post is gonna be a two for one. Not because it’s twice is good, but because I am tired, overwhelmed and hoping it will suffice. Thanks for your patience.
So here it is…
The gift of giving
“It is better to give than to receive.”
You have a heard this before right? Probably felt it too?
It’s true, there is something about the feeling you get when you are giving. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as whatever it is, is a little more than what the person may have expected.
You hand the person the gift, they accept, with a face that says, “You didn’t have to do this.” Meanwhile you are thinking, “Yeah, but if I didn’t, you would have been hurt.” But you don’t say that, you just smile from ear to ear, and accept the compliment. It feels good. Then they open the gift. In predictable fashion, they gasp, semi-authentically, because while the fact that you got them the gift isn’t a big surprise, it is in fact more than what they were expecting. Yes! Just the reaction you were going for.
And it feels good.
This poorly worded, semi accurate depiction of the emotional backbone of giving, is the very dis-function that drives the holiday season. Most of our giving is from a sense of obligation, cuz let’s be honest, 90% of the gifts we give during the holiday season, we would rather not spend the money on… but, “tis the season.”
In a small way, we feel a little more human, by giving gifts to people that already have everything they need don’t we?
The point of this post is not to bash the Christmas tradition of giving gifts, so please try not to miss the point. It is however an attempt to contrast the semi-selfish, to selfish, giving we tend to default to at Christmas time, with the pure, unadulterated, life changing nature of the gift that God gave to humanity on the very first Christmas.
Which begs the question, what makes a gift pure?
Nothing to gain.
It was in this the context God gifted to the world, the person of Jesus.
His gift attached very real STRINGS to a broken, finite, selfish people.
His gift came with the EXPECTATION of rejection, heart ache, and frustration.
His gift came with the OBLIGATION to continue to give in the face of an enormous amount of rejection.
His gift was so pure, that even the definition of, “pure giving,” doesn’t do what He did justice.
This is our God.
He gave it all. And why? Because it would benefit him in the long run? Yeah, sure, if by benefit you mean, being beaten, mocked and hung by his hands from a tree. Or unless you were thinking it was some how a benefit to Him to spend the rest of eternity pursuing a people that would push His good gifts away, any time the temporal seemed better than the promise.
No, see, the gift of Jesus meant nothing but heart ache for the Father. He had nothing to gain. He only had, to lose. Over, and over and over again. The gift of Jesus meant hitching His sail to a people who could not, and would not ever recognize Him in the way that His gift truly warranted.
But He did it anyway. Why? Love. That’s all. He loved you enough to lay it all down with no expectation of reciprocation. And guess what… He would do it again in a heart beat to secure your place in His kingdom, your freedom in this life.
As you give gifts this season, be reminded that the ultimate gift, the free gift. It came to you in the most surprising context of all, and for reasons that are difficult to comprehend for the human mind.
Remember that He loves you that much. He came for you. He gave it all for you.
Because you were worth it.