I recently had a birthday. The big 4-0 if you must know. It was weird, because I remember a time not too long ago when 40 sounded very old to me.
But now that I’m there, it really doesn’t sound very old at all. Part of that might have been helped because I had a great party my wife was kind enough to surprise me with, which kept me feeling young and loved. And one of those thought-provoking things happened at the party that got me thinking.
The guests at the party all brought me a gift. It was quite nice, and I really appreciated them (they were bottles of wine to add to my small cellar), but the truth of it is, I would have been just as happy with the party if no one had brought me a thing. Truly.
A number of people came a very long way just to spend the evening with me, and their presence was gift enough. The bottles were nice, and will certainly be enjoyed over the upcoming year, but I hope nobody felt like they were “necessary”.
But it’s so hard to go to a party, especially a birthday party, and not bring a gift. That’s just how we’ve been brought up, and I think in general it’s a really polite thing. It’s a kind way of blessing a friend or acquaintance and speaking as one who recently received such gifts, they are very happily received.
Coming up, however, we have the biggest birthday celebration in the world, and we are faced with the question – what gift are we supposed to bring to the party? That’s what Christmas is, after all, a great big birthday celebration for Jesus.
There will be celebrations literally the world over, hundreds of millions of people will gather together to give thanks for Jesus’ birth. And we’ll give each other lots of presents on that day. But will we give one to Him?
Of course, getting Jesus any present isn’t easy. I’m not sure Amazon does free shipping to Heaven. And, since Jesus knows everything already, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to wrap His gift either. No, all kidding aside, I think this is an interesting question. Since the guest of honor on Christmas is Jesus – are we “supposed” to bring Him a gift?
I don’t know the answer to this for sure, but it sure seems to me that on this, Jesus would actually prefer something a little different. I think Jesus would be most happy by seeing people coming to His party without a gift in hand. Instead, He’d much rather everyone realize that at this Birthday party, the gift is for the guests. All of them.
Jesus Himself is the greatest gift ever given, and on Christmas we are reminded that it is freely given to all of us. In fact, to try and give Him some type of gift back misses the point. We can’t match this gift, we can’t earn it. All we can do is accept it. Say thanks that at this birthday party, the guest of honor blesses us.
I hope you have a blessed Christmas. And I hope you are reminded once again of the greatest gift you have ever been given.