The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 21st
“The Preparations Are Already Done”
Matthew 3:3 (NLT) – “The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, ‘He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”
Ann Voskamp writes on page 211, “Rest happy and love this story of a coming King who prepares the downtrodden for Christmas by becoming the Way, who lays Himself down in the crèche, on the Cross, so we can lie down and rest. You are unconditionally accepted and unbelievably wanted because you don’t merely know of Him; you are related to Him by blood…You are most prepared for Christmas when you are done trying to make your performance into the gift and instead revel in His presence as the Gift.”
This, friends, is the beautiful truth of the Gospel, that because the Word became flesh, because Grace came TO us and laid Himself down FOR us, we can rest IN Him. We are free to give up all pretense and performance and celebrate that the Good News really is Good News! The Gift really is free and when we receive it, we really are free.
In this season of Advent can you simply receive the Gift?
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to simply receive a gift? To say thank you and enjoy the gift for what it is without feeling compelled to do something in return requires humility. For the most part, we don’t do humility well.
Often when someone gives me something, especially when it’s not my birthday or anniversary or Christmas, I struggle to receive it and appreciate it for what it is without somehow feeling the need to reciprocate the gift giving in some way. Instead of enjoying the moment and appreciating that someone thought enough of me to give me something they thought would bless me, my mind will start thinking of ways to do something in return to prove how grateful I am. When I do this I rob myself and the giver of the joy of the moment.
If we are not careful, we can do this with the Gospel as well. When I turn receiving the Gift into a performance to show how much I appreciate the gift or how much I deserve the gift, I cheapen it. I turn the Gift into a wage, into payment for a debt when I think I have to perform in order to demonstrate I was worth the effort.
Today, can you humbly receive the Gift of Messiah and rest in the Truth that He’s enough?