“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9:15
I was standing in line at Costco a few days ago watching the chaos happening all around me.
In front of me, lines of people were standing with carts, boxes and bags full of “stuff”.
Behind me, people were frantically pushing through crowded aisles, picking over a table of sweaters
and shirts on sale while talking on their cell phones. Christmas in America. I wondered how we got
here. It reminded me of the question children often ask, why do we give presents on Christmas?
The verse quoted at the beginning of this article is the answer. Christmas IS about giving. It is about
the God of the universe, creator of all, stooping down to give the one gift we needed the most… grace, forgiveness, deliverance, love. This gift is described as “unspeakable”. The word used does not mean that we shouldn’t speak of it, it simply means that the gift God gave was indescribable, unable to be fully expounded. God’s desire is that we receive the gift but also that we unpack the gift… and keep unpacking it every day of our lives because it will never be fully expounded in our lives. There is always more grace needed, more forgiveness, more deliverance, more love to be experienced as we muddle through this earthly existence.
So here is the REAL precedent for giving at Christmas: God freely gave the gift we needed the most and that gift keeps on giving! One of the results of receiving the gift is a desire to give to others. But it is not about indulging the covetous, selfish desire for “stuff”. It is about giving to others what they need the most… love… grace… forgiveness.
I remember a sermon by Chuck Swindoll in which he told a poignant story of giving. After Paris was liberated at the end of WWII, there were many orphans living on the streets of that great city. A US soldier was driving through Paris and spotted a little boy with his face pressed up against the glass of a bakery. The soldier pulled over and could almost hear the little boy salivate as the pastries were pulled from the oven, piping hot, and placed on the shelves. “Would you like one?” asked the soldier. “Oh, yes, I would!” the boy replied. The soldier went into the bakery and purchased a half dozen fresh, hot pastries and handed them to the boy whose smile had now swallowed his whole face. As the soldier was getting back into his car, he felt a tug on his coat and turned to see the little boy. “Mister, are you God?”. We are NEVER so much like God as when we give.
May this Christmas be for you a further revelation of His “unspeakable” gift coupled with opportunities to share that gift with others.