This was a Christmas article I wrote for the Globe, Arizona newspaper, the “Silver Belt” in the late 1990’s for their Church Directory. I submit it here as it was written then with just a few grammatical changes (and some added pictures). If we needed this message back then, it is very apparent and obvious, we certainly need it today! – Pastor Roland.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” — John 3:16-17.
You can’t out give God! I’ll repeat that: YOU CAN’T OUTGIVE GOD! We’ve all heard that stated before, but how many really believe it?
We are at a time of year when most people are thinking about what they will be giving, and yes, what they might be receiving in return. I know all the clichés and sayings that go with this time of year. Believe me, all you have to do is turn on the television and watch a few commercials to see what is being propagated to the masses. One commercial for a major department store goes so far as to say that it is not just the giving, but getting less than you expected in return, so be sure to shop them so that nobody is unsatisfied with what they get! At least that is the inference that is implied in their commercial. Pretty bold if you ask me.
Yet this is the type of attitude that our children and everyone else is being indoctrinated in. Oh yes, it’s important to give, but—-there’s nothing wrong with hoping for the very best gifts in return. I learned that lesson at a very young age myself. It’s natural for the Smith’s to out-do the Jones’ in that area. My father taught that to me. Of course, he is not a Christian.
As I have aged and hopefully, matured in the Lord, I have come to see that same attitude displayed in almost everyone. Notice that I said almost. There are still those that recognize and realize that Christmas is a season to reflect on the Ultimate Gift! Jesus Christ didn’t just come to earth, He was given! Given as an unselfish act of love on the part of our Heavenly Father. God, our Father, knew that we needed something that would re-establish our relationship with Him, not just for 70 or 80 years on earth, but for everlasting to everlasting, that is, eternity.
Without that free Gift, we would have no hope of an intimate relationship with the Father. We were destined to spend an eternity in total darkness, devoid of the unlimited love that the Father has for each and every one of us individually.
We as people have a tendency to categorize and put our beliefs and ideals in little boxes. At Christmas we think of Jesus, the baby. At Easter, we think of Jesus, the crucified. Have you ever stopped to think about the absolute sovereignty of God? If He had wanted Jesus to come to earth as an adult in a fiery chariot, just as Elijah left, don’t you think He could have? He could have sent Jesus to us in any number of ways as a sign to His people and still accomplish the same thing. But in His vast wisdom, He chose to send Him in a way that everyone on earth can relate too. He sent Him as a gift to humanity wrapped in humility.
The Father said, “Here is a gift, it is free to you, all you have to do, is accept it for what it is.” How many people have stopped to think about salvation and what it is; I mean really thought about it in depth? Do you think salvation or “being saved” is just to keep you from hell? Do you realize that “hell” was never meant for us? Do you realize that there is so much more involved in our salvation. What do you think we are being saved from?
First you need to understand what it is that we lost. When we were created, we were created in the image and likeness of God Himself. We had His attributes, His characteristics, His nature. We had the ability to commune, to really relate to Him as our Father. Adam WALKED with God! Think about that. That was why we were created the way we were. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” according to John 4:24. What that means is that to acknowledge His worthiness, we must do so in spirit in contrast to materialistic ways and in truth in contrast to those ways which prove false.
When Adam disobeyed God the Father, he relinquished his and our right to approach our Father in spirit and truth. Man became everything that was identified with Lucifer and nothing that was identified with the Father. Man became carnal, or fleshly, instead of spiritually motivated. We lost our relationship with our Creator. We lost everything! We became everything that God created us NOT to be!
It was only through the gift of His only Son, Jesus Christ, that we would even have any hope of re-establishing to our lives our God-created purpose. The gift that we received from the Father was not just Jesus, the little baby, but rather Jesus, the whole and complete Son of God. It is when we recognize and realize the fullness that resides in Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, that we are able to fully walk in the gift that was given. It is through Him, that our relationship with the Father is re-established and we are saved from our carnal nature. In essence we are “saved” from ourselves. Saved to become fully all that the Father has ordained for each and every one of us. Saved from the darkness and void of not being able to sense or know, in any way, the love that He so graciously gives to all of His creation.
During this Christmas season, it is my hope and prayer that we can fully accept and realize the gift that we have already received. With this gift comes so much more than what we can even imagine. Just think, where else can you purchase love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? These are the fruit that grow out of the gift that our Father has so graciously given to us, and they‘re free!. From these, seeds can be planted in every life we come in contact with. What greater gift can you give than love, peace or any of these listed? What greater way to demonstrate by our actions the worthiness of God in spirit and truth than giving the gift that goes with the recipient for eternity?
The best way that we can overcome the shallowness of what the Christmas season has become, is to demonstrate every day, throughout the year, the giving demonstrated by our Heavenly Father. He gave us the greatest gift ever: Himself. What better example for us than to do the same.
My prayer for all my brothers and sisters this year is that you will recognize the bounty of love, joy, peace, etc., that comes your way and that your giving will be more in spirit and truth as the days go by. Give everyone you meet this year a Spiritual fruit basket!