‘Tis the season to be shopping! Relentlessly, we shop ‘til we drop. While enduring crowded malls and long lines, we are sustained by the thrill of getting our hands on the perfect gift for those we love. We search with diligence until at last we find it. Almost in unbelief, we pick it up and carefully examine it for any slight imperfection. Finally, we check the price tag to determine if its value is worth the cost. To our disappointment, it is simply too expensive and more than we are willing to pay. We place it back on the shelf and walk away. Perhaps we can find a more affordable, less costly gift.
But that was not the case on that first Christmas morning two thousand years ago when God gave the most expensive gift of all—the gift of His Son. The cost would stretch from the starlit hill of Bethlehem to the darkened hill of Calvary. It would be wrapped in swaddling clothes woven with pain and stained in blood. A ribbon of mercy would adorn this priceless gift of love. Oh yes, God knew in advance the cost of His gift. The cruel cross was in full view as God pondered His decision. The price tag would be high—the cost enormous.
It has been said that a friend would perhaps die for a friend, and many would die for their own child, but only the Son of God would die for a sinner such as I. You see, my life was laced with self-righteousness from feeble attempts at being good; my will bent on having my own way; my attitude in need of adjustment; my pride out of control; my body imperfect; and my destiny one of destruction. Yet God chose to pay an extravagant price to rescue me.
Only when we comprehend the tremendous cost of God’s gift will we have gratitude equal to its worthiness. Only when we recognize our pitiful state had the gift not been given will we grasp its significance. Only when we acknowledge the pain it brought to the heart of God will we understand its high value. And it is only when we accept the generosity of God will we adore the Gift and worship the Giver.
There has always been just one true message of Christmas even though it is often camouflaged among cheerful holiday ado. As we observe this Christmas, it is only fitting that we celebrate the most expensive gift ever given, the gift of Jesus. ~Janie Kellogg